Friday, March 31, 2006

Porny Weather

I try to imagine what hetero critics think when reviewing a homo film. Of course, a gay critic may be swayed by (what is perhaps the only intention of most of these films) the not-quite-pornographic eye that probes nearly every inch of our protags' buffed, trim, Grecian bodies (except, of course, for that one area "that matters"). But then, perhaps certain, inept middle-aged female staff writers for LA Weekly(I think we all know of whom I speak) might be convinced by a nostalgic longing for the youthful spunk which she has long lost and stares at jealously bleary-eyed, one that also lead her to write a glowing review of the atrocious 9 Songs last year. I read two not-quite-glowing, but still favorable reviews of a new homo offering from the Faterland, Sommersturm (Summer Storm), both of which insisted that the film resisted cliches and stereotypes and was a sensitive portrayal of coming out and summer love.

My question, put simply, is this: When reviewing a Gay film, do reviewers just throw all of their expectations to the wind? It seems an exercise necessary to maintain sanity when forced to sit through countless pseudo-pornos that masquerade themselves as films. And Sommersturm is certainly no exception. It seems that director Marco Kreuzpaintner (a beefcake in his own right) went through a Taschen book of 1,001 most beautiful photographs and attempted to recapture all of them on a shoe-string budget. Most of the time it fails miserably, playing out like a trite Hallmark TV movie, though there are (mostly in the first act) a few lovely moments. These few moments of promise are killed by a script which rips whole chunks from far better predecessors like Beautiful Thing, Get Real and Edge of Seventeen and a horrifically bad cast of awkward Hitler wet-dreams (well, if they weren't "gay"). There are some fantastically trite metaphors - the scene where the boy who's about to come out has the sunburned flesh peeled off his back by his new gay lover (shedding the skin, get it?) is not to be missed - but by the time a $1.99 cover of the Pet Shop Boys Go West plays at the film's culmination, you just don't care, and it's been about an hour since you have. Few can breathe life into a script that feels like a Homo coming-of-age Frankenstien's monster (sans sensationalism, of course). Suffice to say, Kreuzpaintner is not one of them.

Perhaps we should learn something from the upcoming Snakes on a Plane(which is going through its own title trouble at the moment) and just start naming these films Cute German Boys Fucking at rowing Camp Part 3. It'd be more honest.


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