Aug 17, 2014

[Movies] The Fluffer (2001)

Watching all these independent LGBT movies is indeed like eating the proverbial box of chocolates of Forrest Gump fame - you truly never know what you're going to get. And I think that's why I continue to invest so much time and effort into watching them - each movie feels like a completely new experience. You just have to take all the good with the bad and hope to emerge at the other side intact.

This was definitely a movie that I kind of expected a lot out of in terms of a comedy with a title like the Fluffer, but it didn't quite tickle my fancy. It actually had a somewhat more serious story at heart despite the title, cameos by several adult entertainment actors and all that jazz.

I can certainly appreciate what they were trying to accomplish with this movie and they certainly had actors who fulfilled the visual look of things, but in the long run it just gets rather drab and boring. I think they could have figured out a slightly lighter way of addressing this odd love story that might have worked more on the whole in terms of treatment.

Synopsis: The Fluffer is a 2001 independent LGBT movie written and co-directed by Wash West together with co-director Richard Glatzer. It premiered as an official selection at the 51st Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin.

Sean McGinnis (Michael Cunio) is a film student who moves to Los Angeles following the classic dream of making it big in the movie business. Fresh in the city, Sean decides to relax by watching a classic film, this being Citizen Kane, but a mix-up at the renal store results in him having a copy of Citizen Cum instead. And there Sean first sees Johnny Rebel (Scott Gurney), the star of the porn flick. Sean instantly becomes enamored with the actor and determines to meet him for real.

Sean then goes on to turn down jobs in the mainstream movie industry and ends up working as a camera man for Men of Janus, the studio that has Johnny Rebel as an exclusive talent. And on his very first shoot with the studio, he does't just get to see Johnny (actually Mikey Rossini) in person, but he's actually asked to "fluff" him - the industry term for performing oral sex between scenes in order to prep the actor for the next scene and maintain an erection. And there he also finds out tat Mikey is actually straight and is only "gay-for-pay." And yet Sean remains rather obsessed with the actor.

The primary premise already sets us up for failure, really. It's the classic story of a gay guy pining over a straight one. And I use the term "classic" rather loosely since it's a tale that seems to dominate gay movies more than real life, quite frankly. And I suppose we can sort of excuse it given the time the movie was released, but that can only go so far. It's really such a sad story premise and I wish that LGBT movies kept relying on it.

Admittedly the movie made me feel like I needed to watch more porn - or perhaps older porn, only because I didn't really catch a lot of the supposed cameos. Then again, it's not like adult entertainment actors are really the sort of folks you expect to really bring a movie to life. Sadly, I think I only really recognize Ron Jeremy given there's no wiping out that image from anyone's memory once it's there.

The movie overburdens itself with so many plot lines ranging from Sean's obsession with Johnny, Johnny's stripper girlfriend Julie (Roxanne Day), Sean's short time boyfriend and acupuncture student  Brian (Josh Holland) and a few other items here and there. I really don't get why we had to stress that Johnny had a boyfriend - are we not supposed to believe guys when they say they're straight unless you get to see they have a girlfriend? Are we that shallow?

I think it was a small miracle that I had managed to watch the entire movie through - I started losing interest after the first 20 minutes or so of the movie.

The Fluffer wanted to be some sort of gritty tale of the adult entertainment industry and the men who keep it running or something like that. But it wasn't serious enough to be that sort of an "expose" and yet it was bad enough to be pushed further into full camp. The movie hardly rates 1 sad off-camera fluffing scene out of a possible 5.


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