Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actor: Stefan Brogren; Lee Rumohr; Matt Austin; Sarah Kanter; Matthew Finlason; Nathalie Toriel; Christina Sicoli; Ann Tager Page
Director: Dave Scott
Genres: Drama, Gay & Lesbian
Former high school hunk Troy had everything: popularity, girls, and the life of a super jock. But time is passing in a rotting small town where Troy's truest goal, and only denial, is the love of his best friend, Merrick. ... more »
Five Stars for Content Idea, One Star for Resulting Film
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 08/07/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"DENIED is a very low budget, handmade film written, directed, edited and co-produced by one David Scott. The actual film is fraught with technical problems: the sound track is so poor that it is almost impossible to hear much less understand what the actors are saying; the editing leaves long black gaps between scenes; the bulk of the film takes place at night with such minimal lighting that 'seeing' what is happening on screen is difficult at best. Having said all that, the idea for the story is a solid one if not particularly well written. Troy (played by the handsome and sensitive actor Lee Rhumohr - the camera loves this guy!) is a popular highschool jock with the world at his feet, girlfriends, popularity, and yet he is trapped by the knowledge that he is gay. He secretly loves Merrick, a DJ/artist who is as superficial as they come and has a steady girlfriend but in rooming with Troy, Merrick engages in sex with Troy in the secrecy of night, never discussing it at dawn - the true closet case. The story explores the psyche of Troy as he comes to grips with the fact that he wants a relationship with Merrick while Merrick just wants sex for sex sake, without the kissing and warmth Troy requests and needs. How this is resolved is the point of the film
Now, you have to really work with this film to get the story, the dialogue, even the action. The writer/director/editor shows promise: his story is solid, his characters are well drawn (and in the case of Troy, VERY well acted by Lee Rhumohr), and he has some interesting camera shots up his sleeve as well as an Indy flavor that hopefully he will cultivate. In the end - with lots of struggle - I think the work is worth it, if for nothing else than the message and the introduction of a promising newcomer in Rhumohr. With a bigger budget and more time to make this movie it could have been excellent. The DVD has 'added footage' which amounts to little more than the practice kiss between the two characters. A commentary from the director would have been very additive and helpful."
J. Lewis | Dallas, TX United States | 10/31/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After reading some of the earlier reviews concerning it's production values, I was hesitant to watch this film. Finally, though, out of sheer boredom with most of what Hollywood is putting out these days, I succumbed and picked it up at my local video store. Renting this movie was not a mistake. While the poor sound and lighting quality is initially off-putting, about half-way through, right at the point of deciding it's not worth continuing, the story grips you and keeps you watching. And what a compelling story it is. As a gay man who grew up in small-town America, I understood Troy and Merrick's sexual relationship, founded on the premise that "as long as we don't kiss, we're not gay." But Troy, having come to terms with his homosexuality, finally realizes he needs more than just sex with Merrick - he needs the intimacy and emotional connection of a mature, honest relationship, a relationship symbolized by the ever elusive kiss. A better name for this film would be Denial - for isn't that the emotional state of Merrick as well as Troy's fellow-jock who, in a brief appearance, implies a long-term infatuation with Troy?
For an extremely low-budget film, I thought the acting was excellent, especially by Lee Rhumohr (Troy) and the actor portraying Merrick.
Finally, this movie does what so many big-budget Hollywood movies does not - make you care enough about the characters to wonder what happens to them after the story ends. And isn't that the definition of compelling movie-making?
I would love to see this movie remade with a bigger budget and better production values either by the same director (who shows promise) or by a director like Todd Field.
This is a movie I will watch again."
Moving film, filled with hope
J. Malloy | 08/31/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I first read the reviews of this film, most of which
were very negative but a few were positive. Then I
rented the movie and now I'm going to order it from
Amazon. The previous reviews were correct that the
lighting and sound is sometimes poor and that the
movie was produced on a "shoestring" budget. However,
I found both the viewing and sound to be discernible
and although the editing was not very good, I found
the movie to contain some surprisingly effective acting,
some moving scenes and a powerful message.
By the end of the move the main character, Troy, emerges
(and I don't think I'm giving anything away here) as a
self-actualizing gay man with dignity and purpose. Troy
has taken control of his life and avoided the dead-end
outcome of "Fowler". Troy comes to know himself and
has the dignity to go after what he wants. Troy is the
character that I want to emulate.
Some viewers see Merrick as a grubby "blugh" with no
redeeming qualities. However, I could imagine Merrick
with some attractive boyish charm that Troy might
be attracted to and, after all, there is no accounting
for taste. I actually found Merrick to have some charm.
Clearly this movie is low budget, devoid of the polish
and gleam of a Jackson or Spielberg creation. But
there is a point to this movie, namely, that no one
has to stay trapped in a bad relationship or any other
quagmire, that with some sacrifice and maybe some pain
and heartache anyone can aspire for more and maybe, as
the Toronto phone number suggests, achieve his dream.
If you don't mind low budget films, I highly recommend
"I don't want you like that"
M. J Leonard | Silver Lake, Los Angeles, CA United States | 08/19/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Director and writer, David Scott probably needs to take a lesson in film making 101: First, he needs to make sure that he's working with an intelligent script - most of the dialogue in Denied looks as though it has been improvised. Second, he needs to employ a cast that can actually act - most of the actors look as though they've been hired from a local frat boy party. Third, he needs to get someone who knows how to edit - doing it on his own was obviously not the wisest choice, as he's ended up doing a real hatchet job on the film.
Denied is a really awful film. Badly realized, poorly photographed, and with a soundtrack that is so hard to hear, that most of the dialogue is missed. The acting is shaky and particular scenes are adlibbed and directionless. Most of the action takes place in a park at night or in people's bedrooms, with some strange back lighting, so the characters are never really shown that clearly.
There's probably a good story here but it's buried underneath the shoddy production values. Denied. A secret love between two hunky "jock-like" men in a small town, is at once intriguing and probably also quite relevant. Lee Rhumohr plays Troy, is a former high school team captain, who is used to being treated like a handsome stud. Girls swoon over him and his popularity matches that of any local superstar. Living in a small town, however, has its down side.
Things get a little rocky when Troy's love for his slacker best friend Merrick also becomes a personal inner struggle. His affair with Merrick, a self-obessessed DJ/artist, becomes a collage of late night sex and confusion, where after much drinking and partying, they engage in furtive, passionate lovemaking. Merrick, hopelessly in the closet, never wants to kiss Troy, but Troy, hopelessly in love with Merrick, wants so much more from the relationship.
Fraught with anger and fed-up with Merrick's lack of commitment and attitude towards sex and love, Troy is prompted to make a once-and-for-all decision that could change his life for good. This premise could make for quite a riveting story if it were handled in a better fashion and there had been more money for the overall production. But mostly Denied ends up being a really boring and uninteresting slog. None of the characters - part from Troy - are particularly well drawn, and none of the actors, apart from Rhumohr are really capable of rising to the occasion.
However, the film's thematic heart remains very relevant. Guys like Troy and Merrick are everywhere, especially in small towns like the one depicted in this movie, where the closet is deep, and where the hope of a fulfilling and satisfying same-sex relationship is probably, for most of them, a hopeless and unrealistic dream. Mike Leonard August 05.