3 Alternative Film Reviews (DVD reviews)

First and foremost, you will not find the films that I will provide a review for at your friendly, average or common, neighborhood DVD store or outlet.  Secondly, and most importantly, the films I plan on reviewing will indeed be alternative to the other films that the most average, or most common person views; these films fit into the LGBT or Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-and-Transgender category.  All this notwithstanding, I would be remiss if I did not state that some of these might be available at a nearby DVD store.

Truly, truly, and again I say truly, after having been a relative long-term member of a DVD-supply company or provider, no names listed here, I have at last found my ultimate or thoroughly enjoyable or simply too-true-to-be-true gay film: Love Valour Compassion, shown in 1997 and starring Jason Alexander (for those who do not know: a Seinfeld star) and John Glover (Lex Luthor’s dad in the television series Smallville).

Why is this film so fine? Simple: multiple story lines, major character development, some skin, some drama, some tears, some life and death, and so much more.

For instance: John Glover plays twins, both of whom are gay, and yet very different; he does a superb job insuring that we the audience know each person is quite different.  Another example: seeing Jason Alexander play a gay man; he is quite different from his Seinfeld character.

Truly, truly, truly, if you want to see a gay film that is full of development, has purpose, has life, and is worth each and every minute that you can spare: then go find a copy of Love Valour Compassion.

PLOT SUMMARY of Love Valour Compassion: friends gather over the major holidays (Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day) to discuss this, commiserate over that, and overall evolve and explore life in general and specifically; the twins (remember, John Glover plays both) must also deal with AIDS and its impact upon themselves and everyone else in this special group of friends; and of course, relationships are explored, broken, and so forth.

Counterpoint: on almost the opposite end of the aforementioned film are two others worthy of attention: Gone But Not Forgotten (2003) and Maurice (1987).  Of these two gay films, I am partial to the former, especially since parts of the action take place at my favorite lake in the Sierra foothills, namely Pinecrest Lake, near Dodge Ridge ski resort and winter place of fun.

However, these two films are part of the “counterpoint” because they are almost identical in approach and content: that is, there is little character development, little plot development, and very little else of redeeming quality.

These two films do tell a story, the second one is supposedly based on a real-life person or persons, but like any other gay film in my so far limited experience, there is not much to keep or maintain one’s interest.  In other words: a question or two is asked, one or three answers might be provided, and sometimes there is heartache, pain, or betrayal that occurs.  However, there is not much when either film is compared to Love Valour Compassion, for which I am devoting most of this column.

PLOT SUMMARY of Gone But Not Forgotten: male forest ranger saves man, forest ranger falls in love with man, man deals with amnesia, man returns to his wife upon remembering who he is, forest ranger misses man and takes his feelings out on his supportive brother and his expectant wife, and a happy ending occurs notwithstanding.

PLOT SUMMARY of Maurice: two men at a prestigious school explore their feelings for each other; one of the two (Hugh Grant’s character) decides to marry a woman and basically turns his back on his homosexuality; the other man must deal with loss, a sense of betrayal, and what his future will be without his first love; there is a happy ending.

To sum up: all three films are worth taking the time to view or watch, to ponder (or not), or to examine among your straight or gay friends; definitely worth spending some entertainment time.

by Peter S. Lust

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