Film Review of Boy Culture
MadProfessah and a friend from San Diego went to the Laemmle Sunset 5 Theatres in West Hollywood to see Boy Culture at an early Saturday afternoon matinee showing (12:30pm). Boy Culture is based on a well-regarded romantic gay novel by Matthew Rettenmund who also maintains an excellent blog called Boy Culture. Although I rarely run out to see movies in their opening weekend, I have been curious about the movie Boy Culture for awhile since it co-stars Darryl Stephens, who is more well-known for playing the lead character Noah on the groundbreaking but now cancelled black gay cable television series Noah’s Arc, as Andrew. It’s not often one can see a movie based on work created by a fellow blogger. The film also stars straight television actor and current Advocate cover boy Derek Magyar as X and actor Jonathan Trent as Joey.Boy Culture is a very enjoyable, cleverly scripted, well-acted, incisive look at contemporary gay male sexuality and culture.
This is not to say that the movie is without flaws or problematic aspects. The foremost of these is the choice of a male hustler (X, played by Magyar) as the central character and narrator of the film. The script actually makes an amusingly deprecating reference to this cliché by saying (I’m paraphrasing) “Since this is a gay film, you should have figured out by know [the central character] is a hustler.” This leads to some discomfiting scenes depicting X’s “work.”
In addition, although the film in general has verisimiltude as a strength, the composition of the household (20-something gay male hustler X, 20-something gay black video store employee Andrew and barely legal nubile freeloader Joey) in a huge, beautifully decorated apartment defies belief. The film does indicate that X is a successful enough hustler that he selectively chooses his client list (older, rich, predominantly white, gay men) and restricts the number to a manageable lucrative dozen clients.
As Rod 2.0 has highlighted recently, the character of Alex was not intended to be African American in the author’s original conception of the story. This color-blind casting leads to opportunities for the film to cast its incisive gaze on gay interracial relations as well as homosexuality in the African American community. It tackles both with intelligence and wit.
Of course there’s an obligatory reference to “BBD” (big black dick) but there’s also an hysterical visit with Andrew’s African American family and attendance at Andrew’s African American ex-fianceé’s wedding.
All-in-all, a film worth seeing, although the screening I attended (admittedly rerasonably early on a weekend day but in the heart of the gay ghetto) was very sparsely attended (about 40 people in a theater wihch could hold 300) with the average age of the moviegoers equal to the sum of me and my 20-something friend combined. I believe the film does deserve to reach a wider audience and I hope it does.