Tops and Bottoms (and Some Middles) at Outfest 2007
By Eddie Shapiro
What's a festival if not an opportunity for young filmmakers to blossom? A heartbreaker when those same filmmakers can't win over even the most sympathetic of audiences. 25 Cent Preview (SF hustlers in the Tenderloin; if the handheld camera doesn't nauseate you, the dialogue will), 2 Seconds Later (thrillers only work when you care), The Itty Bitty Titty Committee (teenage lesbian activists think the Washington Monument is phallic!), One to Another (yes, it's French and pretty, but still nonsensical), and The Picture of Dorian Gray (an unintelligible and unnecessary modernization of Wilde), all come to mind as projects their makers might have kept to show at parties.
You'd think that the combination of RuPaul as a secret agent and a lot of naked, fully erect costars would be enough to make Starbooty fly. You'd be wrong.
Documentaries are fairly hard to come by to all but devotees of PBS. But documentaries that don't shed any new light on their subjects, like Further Off the Straight and Narrow (about GLBT representation on TV) and On the Downlow are unnecessary at best and redundant at worst.
In the Middle
Then there are the films that weren't perfect but in the context of a gay film festival seemed just right: Holding Trevor is overstuffed with melodrama but still effective at navigating love in urban, gay twentysomethings. Socket has its flaws, but as the first gay sci-fi movie, it's breaking new ground. Don't Go wants to be a Melrose Place meets Noah's Arc. It's neither, but it gets points for trying hard at depicting GLBT diversity. A Four Letter Word, though a bit derivative, makes real comments on our dating culture. The documentary Laughing Matters: The Men (covering the standup work of six comics including Bruce Vilanch, Alec Mapa, and Bob Smith) manages to be funny while showing the broader sociological impact of a narrow subject. And Through Thick and Thin showed the very real, very current issues facing gay couples who hold different passports.