Starring:: Jacob Newton, Derek Villanueva, Dylan
Vox, Kevin Held, Stephen Matzke, Bonnie Marion,
Katrina Sherwood, Sophia Revelli.
Reviewed by Frank J. Avella
The immense appeal of the
lead actor in David Lewis’ comic Texas coming-out
movie, Longhorns, is the main reason
to see this too-oft-told tale.
Jacob Newton is
quite a find. He’s sexy, adorable and an
exceptional actor to boot.
He plays Kevin,
a seemingly straight, college boy from the Lone
Star state who finds himself attracted to openly
gay Cesar (Derek Villanueva). Sparks fly and the
boys romp their buns off. Unable to deal with
his feelings, Kevin runs away for a weekend with
his butch buddies, including the uber-hetero Steve
(hilarious Dylan Vox) who Kevin occasionally blows.
Kevin returns to school and must deal with his
feelings for Cesar.
Lewis sets his
film in the early 80s and nicely uses that era’s
music. He also has a way with showing off his
actors (pun, intended) in the sexiest manner—which
is always welcome in gay-themed films. The key
issue I had with the film is that the scenes are
sometimes amateurishly shot.
is a flawed but admirable film that argues for
love and acceptance.
The DVD is
definitely worth a look and includes one particularly
revealing Deleted Scene that shines a light on
Cesar’s character and should have been kept
in the cut.
Making the Boys
Crowley, William Friedkin, Edward Albee, Terrence
McNally, Tony Kushner, Carson Kressley, Peter
White, Laurence Luckinbill, Dominick Dunne, Cheyenne
Jackson, Larry Kramer, Dan Savage, Robert Wagner,
Reviewed by Frank J. Avella
A First Run Features Release
The Boys in
the Band was a seminal moment in gay theatre.
The documentary, Making the Boys, is
an important piece of gay history as well as an
entertaining film. The DVD is the perfect package.
The play represented
the very first time gay men were presented, in
any medium, as ordinary—if heavily flawed—human
beings just trying to get through the muck known
Boys is an impressive chronicle of the playwright,
Mart Crowley, and his groundbreaking play. The
pic pulls no punches when it comes to analyzing
whether the stagework happened to be in the right
place at the right time or whether it’s
actually great. Robey gives us a pretty comprehensive
overview of the making of the play, the reactions
and the almost-immediate backlash at a time when
the gay rights movement was just cutting its teeth.
The film explores whether Boys was damaging
to the gay movement.
For anyone who
isn’t familiar with Mart Crowley, the docu
is a must-see--from his early beginnings rubbing
elbows with the rich and famous before he was
either--through his deep friendship with Natalie
Wood to the story of how and why he sat down to
write The Boys in the Band to his inability
to write anything of substance afterwards.
Robey smartly gives
the viewer a contextualization of what it was
like to be gay in the 1960s and how things began
to change in the 1970s. He also mixes in a contemporary
view of gay life by showing us a slew of spoiled
queens who have no notion of queer history and
no seeming desire to know about it.
The play opened
in on April 15, 1968, received glowing notices
and was the talk of the theatre community for
years. But by the time the faithful William Friedkin
adaptation was released in 1970, things had changed
and many turned its back on the work.
wonderful footage in the doc including some home
movies taken at (closeted gay) Roddy McDowall’s
parties, moments from the original stage version
as well as 8mm snippets of Crowley doing the town.
Crowley is featured
in a lot of the footage and is pretty honest about
assessing his own career. One of the most eerie
and heartbreaking realities of the Boys
story is that most of the cast lost their lives
to AIDS in the late 80s and early 90s. The rest
were never quite able to rid themselves of the
stigma of being in the original cast of a “gay
absorbing documentary is given a good DVD treatment
even though there could have and should have been
more extra features! The transfer is impressive
as is the sound quality.
What we do get
in bonus features are a too-few short segments
(3-4 minutes each)
Scene’ is all about the kiss that never
Dunne’s Hollywood’ features Dunne’s
has some decent Roddy McDowall party footage.
Match’ chronicles how the film got off the
Time with Dan Savage’ is all about Savage’s
views on monogamy.
Viewing the film
again I was struck by just how important it is
sometimes to be the first at something. Crowley
achieved that and Making the Boys does
as well. Both are significant.
Reviewed by Frank
Starring: Jason Butler Harner, Cheyenne Jackson,
Julia Ormond, Illeana Douglas, Bill Sage, Karen
Young, Chris Bert.
Screenplay, Paul Marcarelli, from a story by Paul
Marcarelli & Steven Williford
I appreciated The Green
more the second time I saw it mostly for the effective
performances and the admirable narrative.
Butler Harner) is a gay English teacher at a private
high school in suburban Connecticut. He and his
partner, Daniel (Cheyenne Jackson), recently left
NYC so Michael could “see green.”—his
first mistake (one of many, this writer says with
an admitted small town prejudice.) Michael mentors
a troubled, low-income student named Jason (a
surly Chris Bert) and when Jason’s scholarship
is threatened because of failing grades, Michael
gets too involved and is accused of misconduct
and immediately suspended.
Soon the very people
who purported to be his friends have turned against
him and he finds himself battling for his job,
his reputation and, possibly, his freedom.
One of the key
problems with The Green is how unbelievably
people react to news and events. For instance
the way Michael and Daniel’s relationship
is threatened feels terribly contrived. Most of
the townies are very one dimensionally drawn.
Michael’s continuously behaving unprofessionally
made me wonder how he ever became a teacher in
the first place. Finally, Jason disappears--for
plot purposes--for such a long spell and we are
given so little initial background that by the
time he returns we just don’t care that
There are, however,
many good reasons to see The Green, beginning
with Jason Butler Harner and Cheyenne Jackson
who both deliver moving, powerful performances.
Julia Ormond steals every scene she’s in
as a tough-as-nails lesbian attorney and the fabulous
Ileana Douglas steals the remaining scenes as
Michael’s ailing friend and colleague. Good
thing the two women never really share the frame
otherwise I’d have no idea where to look.
is to be commended for wanting to address important
themes dealing with false accusations and homophobia
and the dialogue is smart and sharp, I just wish
the story were less cliché and predictable
and the ending had less of a ridiculous feel about
The DVD looks and
sounds wonderful. On the home screen we get a
really ideal sense of the distance director Steven
Williford is trying to created with his framing.
Bonus extras are
pretty slim and include a compelling trailer and
five mostly inconsequential deleted scenes that
run under one-minute each. There is a slightly
longer cut moment that should have been kept in
the film, featuring Jackson, that deals with lies
is worth a look for what it attempts and for the