Emotionally daring and bristling with powerful performances, Dog Tags explores the cost of self-discovery as two unlikely souls connect. Abandoned by his father and raised by his single mother, handsome and sexually confus... more »ed Nate obligatorily joins the Marines to support his fiancée. On leave, the detached Marine meets Andy, a magnetic and seemingly free-spirited young man with big dreams of Hollywood. Initially their bond is purely platonic, but the smoldering chemistry they share is undeniable as it sizzles into something sensual and intimate. Together they plunge headfirst into waters of vulnerability and desire, while the identity of Nate s father finally rises to the surface.« less
Surprisingly great movie. I was surprised at how moving and sweet the movie was. The cast is great, even with a low budget they manage to draw you in and keep you there. Definitely worth seeing.
A heartbreaking modern romance with lessons in masculinity
Thomas A. Heald | Rapid City, SD USA | 10/29/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Nate Merrit (Paul Preiss), a Marine just entering boot camp, is a superhero with an identity crisis: He's neither Superman nor Clark Kent. He's trapped by both a fiancee (Amy Lindsay) and a mother ("American Graffiti" Oscar-nominee Candy Clark) who don't love him for who he is, but for the the man they think he could be.
Andy Forte (the incredible, intense Bart Fletcher) is an equally lost "careless... carefree" loner who "loses track of time" and "can't remember whether something happened four minutes ago or forty years from now." Like Nate, Andy is on leave from his responsibilities when the two meet at an ill-fated "Straight Marine's First Gay Sex" porn shoot that neither thought they'd be involved with thanks to the maniupulation of its sleazy producer.
Nate, a wannabe mechanic, helps get Andy's car fixed and the two learn more than they should by eavesdropping on conversations each has with the white trash families they're trying to escape. Both have abandonment issues and while lost in dreams of the future fall in love with the idea of one another. The two can't change one another's destinies, though they both wind up choosing to be better men than they'd ever planned to be by wiping the slate clean.
A picture frame, a drive in movie theater screen, and a titular set of "Dog Tags" all fit into place in the haunting mystery of who Nate is, who his long lost father isn't, and the heartbreaking love story between a pair of stray animals."
Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 08/10/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
I just watched an amazing new film due to be released by TLA, "Dog Tags" which looks at a young marine who explores his same-sex feelings. Nate Merritt (Paul Preiss) lives with his mother (his father had abandoned them) and his fiancée, Trish. Life is not easy for them financially so he joins the Marines in order to help support Trish and his mom, Debbie. When Nate goes on leave in Palm Springs, he meets Andy, a free-spirited and energetic young gay man who dreams of going to Hollywood for the glitz and the glamour. Andy and Nate become good friends platonically but as time passes their relationship becomes physical and deeply intimate. What is so interesting is that the two are total opposites--Nate is introspective and pensive while Andy seems to be without a care in the world. The guys both find themselves in vulnerable positions regarding each other and as Nate looks more deeply into himself, he discovers and uncovers his missing father's identity. He also discovers who he, himself, is. The film is directed by Damion Dietz who gave us "Beverly Kills". Dietz has created a moving look at a young man who faces difficult decisions as he is faced with family devotion and loyalty and having to find himself and his place in the world. The film touches the viewer on an emotional level, something that small films do not often do. "
Unique coming-of-age story of two young men.
Bob Lind | Phoenix, AZ United States | 11/18/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Raised by his single, working mom, Nate never had a father, older sibling or close friend as a role model, and has been pretty much sleepwalking through his young life, doing what he was told but neer following through on anything he started. To make money to buy his older girlfriend a nice engagement ring, he enlists in the Marine Corp and, having completed basic training, has a leave to visit home before he takes combat training and gets deployed to Iraq. Hitchhiking to a jewelry store near the base, he gets detoured to a place where he meets up with Andy, a seemingly free spirited young gay man who is on a "road trip" to leave his responsibilities behind. The two misfits form a mutually supportive friendship, and travel together, visiting Andy's mother (a Hollywood actress turned recluse) and looking for Nate's father whom he has never met. Along the way, their friendship turns from platonic to a sexual affair, and the two take a big step toward becoming responsible adults.
This isn't really a gay romance, as the sexuality of the young men seems as confused as they are, meaning this might just be one side trip in their paths to adulthood. But it is a beautifully-told story of life and love, how loneliness and lack of direction can affect a person, and how much difference a good friend can make. Film is not rated, but would be a soft R for sexual content and rear nudity. DVD has director commentary and trailers. I give it 4 stars out of 5."
"DOG TAGS": TOUCHING & MOVIING FILM IS HURT BY CONFUSING EDI
DEWEY MEE | ELLENSBURG, WA, | 01/22/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"From the title "Dog Tags," and the "come hither" photograph of sexy, alluring actor Paul Preiss above the words "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" on the DVD cover, you might initially think this film is a military variation on "Brokeback Mountain." It really is not. Dog tags are, of course, a military means of identification. The film tells the story of two guys, (Paul Preiss and the extremely sad eyed but strangely attractive Bart Fletcher) both dealing with indentity crisis; both struggling to find their place and purpose in the world. Nate (Preiss) joins the Marines out of a sense of obligation to his mother (Candy Clark) and his fiancee (Amy Lindsay). She seems anxious for Nate to get her pregnant before he goes away to boot camp. Nate later discovers his fiancee is a deceitful tramp anxious to get pregnant by ANY man! He tells his mother, if he had known about her trampy ways, he wouldn't have signed up for the Marines. He also discoveres that his mother has lied to him for years about who his father is. By this time, Nate has met Andy, (Fletcher) who believes in the freedom of the open road, clean slates, and infinity. Nate considers going AWOL and running away with Andy. Nate and Andy meet in the weirdest way. Their friendship begins when they escape from a Porno Producer named "Uncle Sam." Nate and Andy travel to meet Andy's mother Louise, a faded actress who is a marginally better mother than Nate's. Here, we learn that Andy has an infant son named Travis; the result of a drunken picnic with a girl he barely remembers, if at all. Andy doesn't want to be a dad, but he does feel a slight sense of responsibility. So Baby Travis joins Nate and Andy on their journey to find Nate's real dad... and themselves. In a hotel room, Nate and Andy's relationship becomes briefly but intensely sexual. The next morning, Andy says, "there are no 'supposed tos'...What does Nate want to do?" Nate promptly joins Andy in the shower. The editing makes the film difficult to follow. At the end of the film, both Nate and Andy are on the road to responsibility; although obviously and sadly without each other. The DVD includes an Audio Commentary from writer/director Damion Dietz. Perhaps he explains here why he told the story the way he did, with such confusing editing. The movie is often very touching and moving, but the viewer is left going back and forth; having to put too many pieces together. "
R. Peterson | Kenosha, WI | 11/03/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is "acceptable"... compared to some other gay movies out there it's almost Shakespearian (I'M TALKING ABOUT YOU "HELLBENT") but in no way "good"
Sometimes the cinematography was a bit hard to follow... I COULD understand what was happening (because I was gifted with an abnormally high amount of deductive reasoning skills) but there were odd moments that just... I have no idea what the hell the director was thinking. Most of the movie felt completely disjointed, as though on the way to the movie house some under paid intern had accidentally dropped the film into a wood chipper and then dug each piece out and painstakingly taped them back together.
Also, the story is a tad bit unbelievable. Why would a man with no homosexual inclinations jump into bed with another man and start making out (don't get your hopes up... one kiss and they cut to the next scene) it makes no form of logical sense. And why was there a baby? What the hell happened? What is going on?!? Why even bring in all of these ridiculous plot points if they will NEVER be explored?
*sigh* It's sad that this movie was so awful because the premise had the potential to be sooooo good. A lower class, disillusioned soldier has a chance meeting with an upper class, disillusioned rebel wherein they begin to explore the depths of their sexuality, emotions, lives, and the boundaries of their existence... but no."