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Hard Pill
Hard Pill
Actors: Jonathan Slavin, Scotch Ellis Loring, Susan Slome, Mike Begovich, Jennifer Elise Cox
Director: John Baumgartner
Genres: Drama
UR     2006     1hr 34min

John Baumgartner s provocative new film asks the disturbing and challenging question: if you could take a pill to make you straight would you? What would the effects be on your previous relationships?Tim (Jonathan Slavin) ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Jonathan Slavin, Scotch Ellis Loring, Susan Slome, Mike Begovich, Jennifer Elise Cox
Director: John Baumgartner
Creators: John Baumgartner, Irene Turner, John E. Ferraro, Patrick Baca, Susan Stoebner, K. Dayton Mesher
Genres: Drama
Sub-Genres: Drama
Studio: Fox Lorber
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 05/23/2006
Original Release Date: 01/01/2005
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2005
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 34min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

J. A. Torrontegui | Spain | 07/22/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)

"My opinion of the movie is not as enthusiastic as the other one but I did like it.
I think the premise is very good, but it's slightly let down in the second act. I hoped they would explore how the main character's life could equally fail as a heterosexual, but instead most of the conflict comes from the fact that he is ordered to leave behind his old friends, and the troubles this causes them. Anyway this subplots are so well handled and are so interesting for themselves that almost make up for the main story line's 'bad' turn.
The dvd image is anamorphic and all the good you can expect from a cheap-video shot movie. Speaking of this, the director's staging of the scenes is very good overall, getting the best from that style, it's direct and intimist.

I've Been Telling All My Friends About This MOVIE!
Eric Something | Seattle, Wa | 10/14/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Rented this off of Netflix and loved it. I often have fantasized about
what would happen if I could take a pill and change my sexual orientation.
What I thought was so sweet is that one rarely thinks about the friends
and family you equally effect making such a change. A great sub-plot was
the gay co-worker who went through his own transmormation by actually dating men instead of just picking them up for one-night stands at the
bar and gym. Beautiful thought-provoking piece of art!"
Homosexual .............................................*...
Darien Wells | Tulsa, Oklahoma USA | 05/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If you could take a pill to make you straight, would you? This is the provocative question asked by "Hard Pill". This is a wonderful bittersweet gay drama from John Baumgartner, 2006. At the introduction of each character, a graph is presented on screen to show where he/she stand on the scale between homosexual, and heterosexual, or "no data present". The plot focuses on the life of the leading character, Tim, who finds himself 33 years old, gay and alone. He has gotten too old, with not enough hair and lacks that perfect look that seems to be essential in todays gay community, at least if you are looking for someone to love you. He is disgusted with one night stands and the gay party life. All he wants is to be happy, settle down and be in love for the rest of his life. But this is something that seems to be non existent for a gay man like Tim.

When news breaks that a new scientific study is beginning, to make gay men straight, Tim jumps at the chance to volunteer for the study, against the advice of everyone who knows him. He starts taking the pill and his life begins turning around immediately. He finds love in the arms of Tanya, a pretty blonde with whom he seems to share a lot in common. As their relationship begins to blossom, problems arise with the pill's effectiveness. Success depends on breaking ties with all his old acquaintances, and Tim must chose between his old life and relationships, or the new love and happiness he has found. Only he can weigh the cost and determine his future.

The scripting is great for this film, and the cast is superb. Although a couple of the characters are less than desirable, every actor portrayed their part wonderfully, and life changed not only for Tim but for all those around him as well. There is something here for every viewer, gay or straight. You are sure to find one character you most identify with, and who's personal struggle hits home to you in a big way. Jonathan Slavin (Tim) gives a remarkable performance in his role. You will be enthralled as you watch his performance as both gay, and straight and see the versatility of his acting. Scotch Ellis Loring, Susan Slome, Mike Begovich and Jennifer Elise Cox fit their role so beautifully and never miss a beat bringing their character to life. My favorite however was Jason Bushman who gives a stellar performance as Matt. Though his part was the smaller of the six main characters, he crossed into a role very different from his own life, a role he probably shouldn't have been cut out for, but you'd never guess that by his performance. (not to mention the fact that he is HOT HOT HOT). He gives his character a sweetness that all the others lacked, and the degree of seperation between his character, and his own personal life off camera, is enormous.

I really found no down side to "Hard Pill" with exception of maybe the ending. It is written to leave the viewer to determine for themselves as to whether the ending is happy or sad. For me, I would have to call it bittersweet, and a little too incomplete. I personally WOULD take such a pill, after viewing this provocative drama, but don't give your decision until you see both sides. You might be surprised at your own answer. This movie is terrific and definitely a "one of a kind" gay-themed production. A very nice change of pace from the usual storyline, and one that makes you think a bit. The DVD also offers some nice extra features, including (1)a conversation with writer/director John Baumgartner and actor Jonathan Slavin, (2) An outtake reel, (3) "Making of Hard Pill", a behind the scenes featurette, and (4) Original Theatrical Trailer. Filming, audio, video, casting, acting, directing, scripting and everything else was excellent in my opinion and I highly recommend this film with two thumbs and two big toes waving in the air!"
Changing Orientation?
Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 01/04/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Hard Pill"

Changing Orientation?

Amos Lassen

I must admit that I thoroughly enjoyed John Baumgartner's "Hard Pill". It has an interesting premise that I am sure many of us have thought about--a gay man takes an experimental pill that will make him straight. Tim (Jonathan Slavin) isn't very happy with his romantic life (better said, unromantic life) and he finds the gay world shallow and hedonistic. He secretly loves his best friend, Don (Mike Begovich) who occasionally agrees to some oral sex when he is drunk and that is the closest thing that Tim ever gets to a date. When Tim hears about the new pill that will turn homosexual men into heterosexuals, he is eager to get into the test study. This decision takes him away from Joey (Scotch Ellis Loring), his good friend and from Don whose company he must avoid to prove that the pill really works. As he becomes more and more involved in the treatment, he tries to have sex with Sally, a co-worker who has loved him for years but he spurns her for a better looking girl who has no idea about his past and this is his final link to his previous life that he severs. When a crisis that involves his old friends arises, Tim is brought back to gay life and the treatment is in danger.
I love the originality of the film and the fact that it was made on a very small budget shows us it is possible to make a quality film on tight finances. The humor is wonderful and the film is sensitive at the same time. The premise of the film makes it seem like it is going to be a comedy but it is really a drama with comedic moments. The idea of the pill is a controversial one and the director uses street interviews to see how others would react to the idea. When Tim begins taking the pill it is not just his world that changes but his friends change as well. The film looks at relationships and the pains and the joys that are shared when people connect to each other. The film clearly lays out the message it wants to get across and it pulls no punches in doing so. That chemistry can lead us to a better life is nothing new. There is always a possibility, in this age of science and technology. That someone could create such a pill but as we see here, a pill cannot separate someone from his life.
The performances are great and for me the movie was a real treat that I give five stars to. Don't miss "Hard Pill"."