Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Theodore Bouloukos, Jennifer Stackpole, Mindy Hofman, Charles Ard, Michael John Dion
Director: Todd Verow
Genres: Drama, Gay & Lesbian
The latest unflinching work from New York City based film maker Todd Verow (FRISK, ANONYMOUS) is a deeply personal. semi-autobiograpical story of growing in picturesque Maine. Gay high-school senior Joe is not quite out t... more »
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Dark film explores coming of age and shadows of past
Bob Lind | Phoenix, AZ United States | 11/30/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
""Vacationland" (2006) tells the story of Joe, an 18 year old high school senior in Bangor, Maine who longs to move away from poor white trash roots and this town, with a dream of attending art school. He gets a job as the live in caretaker (and occasional nude model) for an elderly disabled artist, while also working part time at a local market along with his sister, who wants to get out of town as much as he does. For most of high school, Joe has also had a crush on his best friend, Andrew, who plays on the high school football team, and uses alcohol to try to relax with girls, but who actually feels the same way about Joe. Two girls they dated eventually convince them to explore their mutual attraction for each other. and they also check out the local gay disco. Joe is secure about his sexuality and his plans for school, although he has no idea where the money will come from, while Andrew continues to drink heavily while trying to reconcile what he wants to do with the rest of his life, and if Joe should be a part of it. One night, a face out of Joe's past returns to haunt him, and brings to the surface feelings he thought were long buried.
This dark, broodingly emotional coming-of-age film was directed and co-written by Todd Verow, as a semi-autobiographical memoir of growing up in Maine. Newcomer Brad Hallowell (as Joe) does a commendable job breathing life into a character that isn't written very well, while the rest of the cast (including Gregory Lucas as Andrew) appears to be trying for the "Overacting Hall of Fame." The photography is good, except for the amateurish and distracting title credits, but the sound has problems (narration with a deep echo often drowned out by too-loud background music.) The significance of the title is a mystery, and I can only guess the town is supposed to be some kind of vacation destination, though that is far from evident in the film. DVD extras include a few deleted scenes and a trailer, no commentary. I'll give it three stars out of five."
Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 12/23/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
Amos Lassen and Cinema Pride
I just finished my first viewing of "Vacationland" WaterBearer Films) and I can't wait until I have more time to watch it again. It seems to me that this is a very personal movie written and directed by Todd Verow of "Frisk" fame. I read that this is an autobiographical study of his growing up in Bangor, Maine. It touched me m any times and if it is autobiographical, then he and I are very much alike.
Joe is a senior in high school and although he knows he is gay he is not out. He has been in love with his best friend Andrew for years but he has not been able to act on it. He is so unhappy at home that he movies out and in with an artist who is a bit older and who becomes his caretaker. During the course of his stay with the artist both Joe and Andrew's girlfriends suddenly realize that the guys are more in love with each other than with them and prod the guys to make love to each other. As their affection for each other grows, the guys begin a journey of exploration into the gay world and into each other. Suddenly a visitor from Joe's past appears and forces Joe and Andrew to face themselves, each other and their fears. Once they do so, life really begins for them.
On first watching I decided that this was another one of those quickie fluff gay films. A half an hour I could not get the movie out of my mind and I realized that I was wrong and the film kept reverberating in my mind. I don't know if it was because it was the acting or the plot but something said to me that I had just had a profound experience. I still am not sure what it is. The plot jumped at times and I understand now that this was because our minds, when facing a new experience, do not stay focused. When that new experience is about accepting one's homosexuality, it is not surprising that what is taken for an uneven plot is a mistaken representation. The mind was assimilating what was happening to these two guys and until they could reach self acceptance, their thoughts jumped.
The chemistry between Andrew and Joe is amazing and it caused me to wonder what happens after the movie is over. The whole idea of self acceptance and the way Verow handled it was beautiful to me. He showed what goes on in the mind of a young man facing blossoming sexuality and then coming to terms with in.
I believe WaterBearer has a hit with this film. It is one to be watched and re-watched, considered and reconsidered. "Vacationland" already made the rounds of several GLBT festivals and has been well received. It is one of those movies that begins when it's over. What you see on the screen is food for the brain and will stay with you for long after you have seen the film.
Vladimir S. Lolinco | Jacksonville, FL USA | 01/09/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The cinematography for this film could have been made much better, however, for the budget I would say that it sufficed more than enough. The story was decent, though, the actor playing the "str8" role isn't quite up to par as I thought. Interestingly enough, the actors playing in the movie are hot which is probably the main selling point."
DO NOT BUY
J. Murray | apo, ae United States | 06/11/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"The director can't tie his shoe, much less his sub-plots together. Terrible acting. Bad sound(sometimes this can add a certain unique quality to the film...retro or more realistic, not here).
BAD BAD BAD"