Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Andre Noble, Marnie McPhail, Haylee Wanstall, Dorothy Gordon, Jeffrey Parazzo
Director: John Palmer
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Gay & Lesbian
Based on several short stories by writer Bruce LeBruce, Sugar is a provocative and funny coming of age love story. Cliff, a gay teen, is restless in his sheltered suburban life, and anxious to have his first sexual experie... more »
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Impulsive Love with Hustling Side Stories
interested_observer | San Francisco, CA USA | 11/21/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Cliff (played by the late Andre Noble) has just turned 18. Smart, younger, Ritalin-popping sister Cookie (Haylee Wanstall) gives him a helpful push to go out into the big city (Toronto) to find sex. Emerging from the subway and riding his new skateboard, Cliff scoots off to a hustling district and catches the eye of one of the pros, Butch (Brendan Fehr), a drug-taker. Virgin Cliff decides almost immediately that he wants a relationship with Butch and even brings him home after the first night's encounter. The relationship has its ups and downs, but the audience gets to see Butch (and, to a lesser extent, Cliff) operate in the hustler world at a benignly kinky, more-than-vanilla, level but at less than the heights of depravity shown in "Mandragora." The two have a good chemistry, especially in the (shortened from the VHS version) breakfast and photo-discussing scenes. Cliff wants romance, not hustling; Butch has some ambivalence toward Cliff. The plot moves toward an inevitable result, followed by a twist at the end that shows where Cliff really is.
Cliff and Butch show good skin and are both good lookers. There are four hustler characters who show more. It all seems realistic and fairly presented.
I found the hustling side-stories the most interesting part of the movie. Butch, Cliff, and Cookie are the most memorably acted characters. The main love story seemed rushed at the beginning. Although I would have liked a little more on Cliff's motivation, one can make enough sense of it all. The initial scenes feel too formulaic; the viewer just has to last past them.
"Sugar" is an interesting, offbeat film despite some soft spots. There are no extras at all. Low 4 rating.
Andre Noble= gorgeous and talented. Very good film.
John Seger | Los Angeles, CA USA | 01/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The recent tragic death of actor Andre Noble leaves a void that cannot be replaced. But thankfully he has left his mark in this beautifully directed film. Sugar reminds me of "My private Idaho" in terms of directing and mood. While the former film had River Phoenix, who made the film so sexy, this film has Andre Noble. Noble had an acting style that revealed passion and emotion with a sexual edge. Playing an 18 year old gay teen who is anxious to have his first sexual encounter, he falls for Butch, a gay street hustler(played well by Brendan Fehr). But this is clearly Noble's film. His heart breaking performance is so real and gripping, and he seemed so destined for super stardom. Beautiful eyes, gorgeous hair and a smile that would break a million hearts, his death leaves the film industry without his raw talent and that is a shame. I would rate this film as an indie classic. It really hit home for me. I hope straight viewers keep an open mind while viewing as Andre truly gives a performance worth seeing again and again."
This is not meant to be a pretty movie.
Edge Morbid | Burlington, VT | 03/23/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A lot of people become comfortable with the a-typical portrayal of gay life in film, a world of shiny disco balls, hard muscles, night clubs and fabulous clothes. Viewers are drawn into the monotomy of leads who are pining for love, struggling with acceptance and deal with tragic coming out stories but most of the time these tales seem to wrap things up nice and neatly in the end with our heroes finding love, triumphing over diversity and finding love and acceptance in some way.
This is not that movie and for some that is a bitter pill to swallow, but for some of us (who have swallowed many a bitter pill in our time) this movie is more real than any of those others.
Sugar is about falling in love with the bad boy and falling in with an unforgiving scene. Its about partying but not every rail rockin' weekend begins and ends with house music. Sometimes the party scene is a very dark very real world where you have to either fight against the current to survive or get swept away with the tide. Sugar is meant to be dark and ugly at times.
Me and my friends watched it with smiles, grimaces and an all too grave understanding of what the two main leads in the film were going through. A poignant scene towards the end will make anyone who has indulged to the point of excess relate to the gravity of the moment the two boys are in.
My only beef with this film was that the temporal sense was off. It was sometimes difficult to gauge how much time had passed between scenes and you have to pay attention to tiny details hidden in the background to clarify time, which can be difficult for some due to the powerful and raw look of this film.
People keep trying to compare this film to others in the genre, but my advice is that if you liked the movies Kids and Johns, then you'd like this film. If you like to keep your queeroverse tidy and happy with a fun back beat then steer clear."
Good & Gritty!
JC | New York | 12/01/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
I have to admit that although I knew the name Bruce LaBruce, I really didn't know much about him until after viewing "Sugar" and became intrigued by the film, which is based on several short stories of his from the "JD" series. JD's was a queer punk-zine which thrived between 1985 and 1991 and here director John Palmer has taken these stories, moved it from the skinhead punk world to a more mainstream urban locale of male hustlers, prostitutes and crack addicts and tells the tale of a young man coming of age, in a gritty and unnerving way. This is a great little film with some outstanding performances all around and it's a nice change of pace from the more mainstream, sugar coated (no pun intended) gay films we generally are accustomed to. It's unfortunate that the lead actor, Andre Noble, at the young age of 25, passed away unexpectedly in September 2004. I'm sure he would have had a great career ahead of him.
On the eve of his 18th birthday, Cliff (Andre Noble) has a lame, but rather touching dinner with his mom (Marnie McPhail) and his sister "Cookie" (Haylee Wanstall) at a local watering hole. It's not until they return home that Cliff gets a rather unexpected present from his sister, a joint, a tiny bottle of vodka and a card that instructs him to get SEX. So what's a boy to do? He heads downtown and finds himself drawn to a male hustler named "Butch" (Brendan Fehr). Butch lives in a world of crack addicts, transexuals, and prostitutes and Cliff has no qualms or reservations about any of them or becoming a part of their world. Cliff and Butch strike up a friendship and spend the night together plutonically, with Cliff wanting more and Butch struggling with his intimacy. Butch shows him life on the streets and Cliff shows him the other side by taking him home for dinner. Their friendship continues to blossom. Like a lost little puppy, Cliff stays with Butch through thick and thin and as the story unfolds the dark underside engulfs both of them. From obese tricks and pregnant drug dealers to pedarests and guys who like to be spanked, we're drawn in, much like Cliff, to Butch's way of life and can't seem to pull away. As the film progresses you never know what dark alley, twist, or turn is going to befall them and both of these young actors give some great performances I've seen in quite some time, as do the co-stars. "Sugar" may not be for everyone but I enjoyed this dark, dank, new world.