Jul 15, 2012

[Movies] Luster (2002)

There are those movies that you suddenly remember out of the blue - it can be due to a line or a particular image from the movie or whatever. And it just nags and nags and nags at you until you find a copy of said movie and re-watch it just to scratch that itch. I had the same issue with Luster recently - mainly because of the often repeated poem that starts with "I lie in a bed post drug sex...".

So I finally scratched this particular itch recently, hence the review suddenly appearing here on the Geeky Guide despite the relative age of the movie. Not that the age of a movie is a major factor for consideration, quite frankly. But let's move on.

This movie plays to a lot of the tropes of LGBT cinema -which is a good and a bad thing. Sure, you can cite that since it is an older movies, others may have followed this movie's lead. But at the same time, a lot of those tropes are the sort of things that come along with indie movies in general. But the movie still has its moments, despite the over-abundance of plot lines.

Synopsis: Luster is a 2002 LGBT drama movie written and directed by Everett Lewis. The movie participated in a number of film festivals although it didn't win any notable awards, as far as I can determine.

We start with the quirky poet Jackson (Justin Herwick) waking up after an orgy. By day he works at an alternative record store owned by Sam (Shane Powers), who is also his best friend. When he finally makes it to work today, he encounters a new customer named Derek (Sean Thibodeau), who professes his love for him on the stop. Naturally, Jackson isn't all that impressed by Derek's love-at-first-sight declaration.

More importantly, Jackson gets a call from Sonny Spike (Willie Garson) a closeted rock star who wants Jackson to write songs for his next album. At the same time (and totally unrelated, I know), Jackson's relatively hot cousin Jed (B. Wyatt), comes over to visit for a while. But since his first encounter with his cousin happens to be while Jed is taking a shower, he can't help but consider possible thoughts of incest. And all this is just the beginning of a weird weekend for the various characters, as clearly tracked from day to day (the movie starts on a Friday).

The movie is fairly determined to capture the queer punk scene in Los Angeles at the time - hence the blue hair, the quirky characters and of course the music. And it seems like every other character has to explore some other aspect of the eclectic art scene whether it's Alyssa's (Pamela Gidley) photography, or Jackson's poetry and song-writing or Sonny Spike being a douche. Okay, maybe not so much the last point.

But with the number of characters involved and the interconnecting story lines, the movie does get rather dizzying at times. The writer / director behind it got a tad too ambitious I feel given all that he wanted to accomplish, or perhaps he just didn't have the directing skills to execute his visions clearly. And as tricky as it was to keep track of everyone, but at the same you can't help but feel some of the stories weren't even all that essential to the core story.

And yeah, I don't quite get the need to have Billy (Jonah Blechman) become a major BSDM freak or why Jackson has to profess love at first sight for him either. But that's just the way the story goes.

The movie features a lot of nudity (including male frontal nudity - this is a gay movie after all), but a lot of it isn't all that sexual in nature. Plus in comparison, Jed is probably the hottest guy unless you like twinky Jackson, so don't expect too many sexual thrills throughout the movie.

On the whole, Luster is a quirky adventure into a rather niche sub-culture of the LGBT scene - that being queer punk. That in itself does not make the movie good or bad, but the lack of clearer vision on the part of the director (less is more after all) hampered the movie's focus and its ability to tell a good story. Given that, I rate it a decent 2 moments we have a character strip naked for seemingly weird reasons out of a possible 5.

I really liked the poetry though.

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  1. Hmmm... my first time to hear about this movie. Ma-download nga sa torrents.to :)

  2. I just watched this movie a few minutes ago. It was a good one. Plus, the lead character looks-like My First Love. All the feelings I have for My First Love rushed in like a tsunami :)