Dec 7, 2014

[Movies] 9 Dead Gay Guys (2002)

I came out in 2003 and around the same time I feel like there were so many TV shows and LGBT movies of interest that were trying to speak to me. I suppose this is why I have so many movies that came out around 2003 in my review queue for one reason or another. And it's not even like I set out a search parameter to find such movies based on their year or release - it's just a weird coincidence of number of movies released around that time and perhaps how much they theoretically appeal to me.

9 Dead Gay Guys sort of fits that parameter, although it's a wee bit older when you get down to it. I stumbled across it based on the title alone since it sounded like a caper movie or that sort of a deal. I went in hoping for a farce of sorts or maybe even a weird LGBT mystery and instead got...a comedy?

It's hard to say exactly what went into this movie. There was a definite goal to make this rather campy and perhaps even obnoxiously so, and I think it sort of achieved that goal. But whether this vulgarity went far enough to actually become funny is up for debate.

Synopsis: 9 Dead Gay Guys is a 2002 British comedy written and directed by Lab Ky Mo. The movie was actually shown at the Cannes Film Festival in 2002 and it was rather popular at the time. They even offered extra screenings to meet the demand.

Byron (Brendan Mackey) and Kenny (Glen Mulhern) are two Irish lads who've made the move to London. Byron had already established himself in the city (more or less) and Kenny eventually follows expecting him to already have a job and such. But instead. Byron has been hanging out at a local queer-friendly establishment and has been making a living providing oral favors to rich gay gentlemen. And he naturally tries to get Kenny into the act, claiming that it was still legitimate work versus actual theft. In their mutual desire to continue to live a life of lazy drinking, Kenny eventually gives in.

Then a local queer called The Queen (Michael Praed) is discovered dead and his lover, an Orthodox Jew known as Golders Green (Simon Godley) based on where he live, has no idea who the culprit was. Byron and Kenny decide to try and find their way to the elusive Golden Green in order to take some of the money that is rumored to be hidden inside his ridiculously large mattress. But no one knows where Golden Green lives - only that his main requirement in men was a guy with the equivalent of 2 Red Bull cans in terms of size. The Queen had worked out since he had a size minimum of 9 inches.

The movie is pretty over the top in terms of its characters and its many situations. You have the dwarf (not a midget!) with a 3 and half inch penis, a rather large lesbian bar owner who prostitutes three West African men, and a can driver whose dick is so disgusting that he hasn't had a blow job in 5 years. I know, these sound like horrible characters, and I suppose it all makes sense in the context of the movie. I did say that it was pretty vulgar to begin with.

The humor is rather Irish and tone and sort of feels like a Guy Ritchie movie. Of course it's not quite the same given the protagonists are dealing with gay sex, but they repeatedly deny that they're gay  that all this is just a job. It can get a little annoying if you're sensitive about this sort of stuff, so consider yourself warned.

I can see how this movie ends up polarizing opinions about it in the sense that you'll probably really, really like it or absolutely hate it. There's little room in-between, if only because you need to find a way to come to terms with all the strange characters and situations introduced in the movie. You can excuse it all and call it camp and thus you'll end up just going along with things and enjoying the ride. Or you can feel appalled and draw a line in the sand and say this movie is morally reprehensible or something along those lines.

If anything, I wanted to like this movie and see the humor in things, but it just didn't quite make me laugh. And for a comedy, even a dark one like this, that's rather disappointing. Things just keep on happening one after the other but it doesn't feel like a fulfilling narrative experience. And in the end I'm not sure what I wanted to happen for everyone - do I want Byron and Kenny to find a way to continue to be alcoholic bums? Do I want Golders Green to find new happiness? And why did all these gay guys have to die at all?

9 Dead Gay Guys certainly had a rather bold concept in mind and it was well-prepared to push the limits and somehow break new ground. I don't think it got as far as it needed to, but it made a decent enough effort. Thus the movie only rates 2 strange, difficult to digest characters out of a possible 5.

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