Boy Culture is the candid confession of X, a wildly successful male escort. After ten years of sex for pay, X gets romantically entangled with his two hot roommates and a reclusive elderly client, Gregory. But before G... more »regory will agree to sex, he tells an unsettling love story spanning fifty years and dares X to try something he hasn t felt in years: emotion.« less
interested_observer | San Francisco, CA USA | 08/11/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The protagonist (played by Derek Magyar) of "Boy Culture" uses the film to confess his issues to the audience, using a pseudonym, X. X worked his way through the University of Washington by prostituting himself to his dentist. After graduation, he built up a clientele of twelve customers willing to pay very high amounts for his services. (A zoom looked like $5,000/ 1 hour session; X must be very good indeed.) In order to disguise the source of his income from the IRS, X took on two roommates for zero rent each. One roommate is video store employee Andrew Thompson (played by Darryl Stephens), and the other is promiscuous eighteen-year old Joey (played by Jonathon Trent), who lives off an allowance and hasn't gone past his GED for schooling. One of X's twelve clients just died, giving him a chance to interview seventy-nine-year old penthouse-dweller Gregory Talbot (played by Patrick Bauchau) as the replacement. This is where the film starts.
X, Andrew, and Joey all want love and a better life. Inevitably a triangle formed, sometimes oriented one way, sometimes the other. In general, Joey wants X, X wants Andrew, and Andrew has sex once with Joey. Each partly expresses his love for the others, but internal issues prevent any resolutions. Gregory develops a strong, confiding relationship with X but holds back a key piece, whose revelation catalyzes the triangle. Everyone moves ahead and gets a happy next stage.
The movie "Boy Culture" is based reasonably closely on Matthew Rettenmund's 1995 book of the same name. The big changes are that the location moves from Chicago to Seattle, the story line relating to Joey's brother is gone, Andrew and his family shift from standard Midwest white folk to middle-class, Oregon-based African-Americans, and Gregory is allowed to move from disgrace to helpful uncle-figure. We learn X's real name. All of these shifts are well done and add value to the story.
The principals all have substantial skin scenes. There are club-goers, bartenders, a hilarious hook-up pantomime, and the like to provide more. It's all really hot!
All of four the principals are splendid; I look forward to seeing more of their work coming out. Of the actors of smaller parts, I thought Peyton Hinson did especially well as Andrew's former fiancée, Jill, whose marriage to a pro-football player leads Andrew and X to visit Andrew's family.
The extras are unusually good. There is a Q&A session at the Tribeca premiere with the director (Q. Allan Brocka), Magyar, Trent, and a producer present. Most valuable is that the director and the four principals each gets an approximately fifteen minute interview to discuss the film, his role, and his choices. The viewer gets to know and like these talented artists even more. There are two deleted scenes as well.
The film does an excellent job of showing the attractions and inhibitions of gay relationships and is certainly the best gay-oriented film of the year. It does so well that it is actually one of the best films of the year, period. "
Sexy AND talented cast deliver a GOOD gay themed movie
L. Phelan | 06/25/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The acting in most gay movies is TERRIBLE, so I was pleased to stumble across Derek Magyar's performance in "Boy Culture". The character he plays is extremely sexy (mostly because he is guarded almost to the point of being completely unavailable). The character "X" is a high priced male hustler with a very select client roster. "X" appears to the outside world to be a hardened, almost heartless, shell of a human being, but the audience is privy to his innermost thoughts. Through this internal dialog, we learn that "X" is "saving himself" for someone who loves him, and has convinced himself that he is secretly in love with his roommate played by the talented young actor Darryl Stephens of LOGO's Noah's ARC. If Derek wasn't a gifted actor, the character "X" would not have been likable (and the audience wouldn't have cared what ultimately happened to him). But, because Derek IS a talented actor, with above average material that borrows from a classic play, the audience is given the opportunity to invest in what happens to "X".
The story unfolds through sexy dialog that is believable enough if the audience is willing enough to suspend belief long enough to buy into a more serious, and sexier, gay version of "Pretty Woman." If you let out a little groan at the comparison, be aware that both of these films owe a debt to George Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion". While "Pretty Woman" follows a more predictable, and commercial path with the prerequisite Hollywood happy ending which owes more to "My Fair Lady" than Shaw's original play, "Boy Culture" is actually closer to the spirit of "Pygmalion". Gifted character actor Patrick Bauchau, best known for playing the character of "Sydney" for four years on the television series "The Pretender" plays Gregory Talbot, the rich "sculpture" who is intent on molding "X" into his creation. The story appears to follow predictable paths at times, but is actually more complex than what the jaded viewer may expect. Thankfully, the characters in this story often display traits of nobility that elevate them above what they appear to be if only given a cursory inspection. While this film borrows from "Pygmalion," it doesn't steal; it veers away from the known story arc to find its own path.
With sexy dialog, the conveyance of raw emotion through his eyes, and a male beauty that rivals the sexiest Titan porn stars, Derek Magyar delivers a performance that is more than worth the average ticket price (a rarity these days to be sure). He emotes a type of vulnerability without giving up his pseudo-macho hustler persona. His character establishes early on, that he is unavailable (symbolically placing his jacket on the empty seat next to him, showing that he will allow no-one to get too close). He is very acid tongued to anyone who tries to remove that "barrier" and get too close, but it is obvious he is doing this in order to protect himself from harm. He pushes people away with "humor" based in a need for self preservation. He prays often (humorously enough he owns a religious Madonna icon -the Catholic version, not the pop-star) asking for forgiveness. It is easy for the viewer to grant this forgiveness since "X" is actually a very passionate, albeit damaged, character.
If this movie were a wide release Hollywood drama with heterosexual characters, Derek's performance would be a star making role. Although this film is unlikely to become a blockbuster, hopefully it WILL eventually find the audience it deserves. It has the potential to become a gay cult classic, and audiences that discover this small film may well begin to follow this talented cast to other projects. Without spoiling the ending, I found this film to be both unapologetic and hopeful. Considering the lack of gay cinema that offers either of these outcomes, I am delighted to recommend this film. I go to movies to escape and be entertained, and I found this film to be very entertaining escape on multiple levels.
Good Film, Despite Major Problems
A. McIntyre | Philadelphia, PA United States | 08/16/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I liked so many things about "Boy Culture" that I had to think long and hard about giving the film only three stars (and would have been three and a half if Amazon had that feature).
Q. Allan Brooks had a limited budget and shooting schedule (not unusual for gay films). Yet "Boy Culture" has a good look, with many location shots in Seattle. Sexy Darryl Stephens' line readings are often stiff and awkward, so time for 2nd takes must have been very limited. The lack of money was most evident in the background music -- awful pretty much covers it.
The story of a high priced male escort and his two sexy roommates is always interesting, especially as the potential for a relationship between X and Andrew seems more and more possible. The 3rd roommate, barely legal Joey, is wonderful as the forever trick happy new guy in town. The theme of friends becoming lovers and then friends and finally lovers again is done very well.
Now the major problem. A high priced male escort (one check for his very short term company was for $5,000) could not survive in Seattle with only 12 clients who want sex and little or no personal intimacy. X might find 12 clients who fit that mold in New York or Los Angeles, but not in a smaller city. Escorting requres personality and charm, which X does not possess; it is not all about sex. In fact, some of the highest priced escorts are not great in bed.
The special features provide insights into the story and the way the director approcahed the filming of a popular book. I learned quite a bit about the lead actors in their individual Q&As. The lack of a commentary makes the special features fun, but not a necessity.
Finally the film played much better in a sold out movie theater, with Darryl Stephens in the audience, than it did on home DVD. Try to watch "Boy Culture" with 12 friends. "
What a Job!
Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 06/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
What a Job!
Amos Lassen and Cinema Pride
Picture if you can three buffed and beautiful young men--perfect young studs with an apartment that is heaven personified. Naturally we would think that they are perfectly happy but beneath those beautiful surfaces lay three unhappy people.
"Boy Culture" is the story of high priced hustlers. There is the un-named narrator whom we shall call "X" who has a stable of 12 clients. His roommate and the object of his lust is Andrew who is incredibly handsome but who not only wants to be loved but an open relationship as well. Then there is Joey (Blowy Joey) who is cute as can be and acts as a son to the two others.
"X" has a serious problem. As much as he loves and lusts after Andrew, his years as a john have left him unable to have sex without money being exchanged. He discovers a new follower, Gregory, who is not quite what he seems to be.
With these stories in play, the director Q. Allan Brocka manages to get everything going and does so with elegance and charm. The movie which s based on the novel of the same name is intelligent and creative. The actors suit their parts and are intelligent and wear their roles Derek Magyar as "X' is excellent as the jaded and emotionally distant hustler and as a charisma not often seen on the screen.
The film has been called dark, depressing and controversial but I found it to be sympathetic even though it is about an unapologetic male whore. The movie is unique and enjoyable and t takes risks. The characters are such that they can be easily identified with. It's a feel good film about being gay and accepting yourself and understanding your relationships. "X" carries the narration without giving away too much--he says what is necessary to Know and nothing more. Watching "Boy Culture" is similar to reading a book with the addition of beautiful guys. There is mystery, an unknown element and a really good story. Here we have two guys suppressing a relationship; a relationship they both want and need but are not willing to face.
Here is a gay movie that is thoughtful, witty, romantic and sexy. Beautiful photography emphasizes a story that is not always pretty. We enter a world that most of us are unfamiliar with and we get a picture of gay life as it is in a large urban center of contemporary society. Questions arise from the freedoms we have--about choice and how we guard ourselves against emotional wounds.
Everything about this film is superior--the writing, the photography, the direction and editing, the acting and the screenplay. The performances are strong and the chemistry on screen is amazing. Everything is fairly predictable but it is great fun to watch. "Boy Culture" was the hit of last year's festival circuit and it is easy to see why. I predict that this will be the talked about gay film of the year and one that you must make plans to see.
This is a BLAST
Reading Is Fundamental | 08/20/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is hilarious and sweet. The one-liners are enough to keep you laughing out loud, while the promise of love is endearing. The story is about 3 hotties Alex or X (Derek Magyar), Andrew (Darryl Stephens), and Joey (Jonathan Trent), who live with and love each other in varying degrees. X and Andrew provide the promise of love, while X and Joey remind you of a nuturing love, protecting Joey from himself. The angst is revealing yourself, so that you can be loved. All 3 hotties keep your attention away from the convoluted story (a hustler who believes in love, a man coming to terms with his sexuality, and young man looking for family) and you can't help but root for all of them in the end.
Darryl Stephens is the best of the bunch, but Derek Magyar and Jonathan Trent contribute nicely. In fact, they set up much of his amazing performance. I saw this at the theater, which made me purchase the book, which led to buying the DVD. I watched it twice, I enjoyed it so."