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Life is only what you wonder.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

New Review

Latter Days - (2004)
Starring: Wesley A. Ramsay, Steve Sandvoss, Jacqueline Bisset, Mary Kay Place, Erik Palladino, Amber Benson, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Running Time: 110 minutes
Rated: Not Rated


I eagerly anticipate seeing any new gay-themed movie that comes out. I was especially eager to see this movie, which was billed as a "boy meets boy, boy loses boy, boy gets boy again" movie.
Formulaic? Definitely. But how many gay movies are out there like that?
Gay movies are often so tragic.
Usually one of the lovers die (Torch Song Trilogy, Longtime Companion), or their messed up in the head (The Boys in the Band), or their addicted to drugs or liquor (Circuit, Lie Down With Dogs), they lose the guy in the end (Get Real, Edge of Seventeen, The Fluffer), or something happens to prevent them from walking hand in hand into the sunset.
It's downright depressing!

So it was with high hopes that I entered The Charles Theatre to view this movie. The Charles is kind of theatre where you go see Federico Fellini films and sit at the round cafe tables afterwards discussing them and drink espresso and feel slightly bohemian.
I wasn't there to feel bohemian, though. I was there to see what I hoped would be a decent movie.
I wasn't disappointed.

The story (without giving too much away): Sexy, Club Boy, Christian (Wes Ramsay), makes a bet with his co-workers/friends that he can seduce one of the four young Mormon missionaries who have just moved into his apartment complex.
He sets his sights on Aaron (Steve Sandvoss), a closeted but deeply devout young man who is intelligent enough to figure out what's going on. But the attraction between them is more than either of them bargained for, and when they are found out, Aaron is sent home to Idaho by the Church, forcing him into deep spiritual shame.
Christian, for his part, finds Aaron impossible to forget, and his attempts to grow up are most clearly defined when he begins delivering food to Keith (Erik Palladino), a smart-tongued man living with HIV.

Will the two lovebirds get together?
Duh!
When they finally do get together (and you'll be practically holding your breath until they do) the actors kiss a lot and get nude, which is why the film is released unrated.
After a passionate session of making out, the guys talk naked in bed and tell revealing stories about their families and painful memories they've lived through to hide their sexuality.
The nudity isn't gratuitous, simply placed there for eye candy, it's an important part of the story.
Steve Sandvoss and Wes Ramsey are one of the most charming gay pairings in recent memory, a pair of flawed --but ultimately lovable --losers whose incompatibility requires a deeper effort to understand and accept one another and themselves.
Charming, handsome, and clearly enjoying the scenes as they play them, the two actors are refreshing in their refusal to dumb down for the cameras.
Other standouts include Bisset as a wise and generous restaurant proprietor, Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Third Rock from the Sun) who plays the homophobic Elder Ryder, and Palladino, who takes what could have been a mirthless stereotype and instead finds inspiring twists and turns.

Go out and see this movie while it's still in theatres.
It will give you hope that love, indeed, acually does conquer all.