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Edward Aycock | New York, NY United States | 04/08/2003
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I had a bizarre movie-viewing experience lately and rented this DVD on the day after I rented "Jackass"; I greatly preferred "Jackass." "Leather Jacket Love Story" is yet another tiresome entry in a long line of recent gay-themed films (within the past 13 years or so) that do not show any promise in the world of what one charmingly calls "Queer Cinema." As somebody else has noted in a previous review, I think that one of the film's main problems is that the lead actor, Sean Tataryn, with his "Herbie the elf dentist" hair, is really not a very attractive kid and in reality, certainly would not command the attention he gets in the film; he is what I'd call "charisma free." This central casting mistake really weighs the film down. It's hard to see that so many men would grab Tataryn when he would walk into a room and try to engage his attention. This is most notable and flawed in the bath house scene. Tataryn's acting isn't much to go on either. Christopher Bradley as the older more worldly (and truly handsome) man tries to rise above the material, but with such bad dialogue, cliched situations and the use of full frontal nudity to mask the films flaws, it all just goes over like a lead balloon. I think a very interesting and touching film could have been made out of the relationship between Mike (Bradley) and Sam (the too good for this film Hector Mercado). The chemistry between the 2 of them seems very genuine and generates the only real warmth in the film. Instead, we are treated the beginnings of a co-dependent relationship.Some of the more noticeable problems in the film: the grainy black-and-white photography, the use of silly 50's sitcom type music during a pivotal love scene (I have never witnessed a love scene so trite before), the overused drag queens who, in the end, really don't seem to serve any point, and any number of the bland, smiling extras who walk around with vacuous looks on their faces. Special mention goes to the ridiculous exchange between Tataryn and the sleazebag stripper who discusses his love for painting a certain type of his anatomy. This is one of the silliest, forced conversations in a film full of them. Rent this if you must, but this is not a film to waste your money on. The extras on this DVD are just prolonged scenes of male nudity and sex, with no real deleted scenes that would shed any more light on the film."
Much to admire in deeply flawed comedy-drama
Libretio | 04/02/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)
LEATHER JACKET LOVE STORY
(USA - 1997 - black and white)
Aspect ratio: 1.37:1 Theatrical soundtrack: Mono
An aspiring young poet (Sean Tataryn) relocates from the Valley to LA's Silver Lake district where he's distracted by drag queens, sex clubs, gay bashers and a hunky older stud (Christopher Bradley) with whom he falls in love.
Shot in ten days for $60,000 in 16mm black and white, and inspired by Jean-Luc Godard's MASCULIN-FEMININ (1966), David DeCoteau's LEATHER JACKET LOVE STORY is something of an acquired taste. DeCoteau had toiled in the lower echelons of the exploitation movie business for many years (BEACH BABES FROM BEYOND, TEST TUBE TEENS FROM THE YEAR 3000, you get the picture) before commissioning screenwriter/poet Rondo Mieczkowski to write the gay drama DeCoteau had always dreamed of directing, and it took a year for the project to finally come together. But all good intentions are scuppered by a combination of threadbare production values and a reckless shooting schedule, both of which are characteristic of DeCoteau's directorial 'style'. Furthermore, the central romance isn't remotely believable, because - at the risk of sounding crude and disrespectful - Tataryn isn't attractive enough to warrant all the attention (he was chosen for no other reason than his willingness to perform the nudity and sex scenes!), and he plays the character as little more than a socially awkward debutante, completely at odds with Bradley's exerienced older guy, with whom he appears to have little in common.
Howard Wexler's low-tech cinematography struggles to maintain the fairy tale ambience suggested by Mieczowski's ambitious script, and as usual, DeCoteau allows too many dialogue scenes to continue well beyond the limits of endurance. In a commentary recorded for this DVD, DeCoteau chides those critics who trashed his 'feel-good' approach in favor of the 'heavy dramas' which he himself seems to dislike, refusing to countenance the idea that some viewers simply weren't taken by his amateurish scribble of a movie!
But there's still much to admire in this flawed venture. Mieczkowski's script may be dramatically uninspired, but his dialogue is smart and colorful, and he manages to prick the bubble of pomposity which informs his company of eccentric Silver Lake characters. Similarly, the cast is a mixed bag of newcomers and cult favorites: Bradley is an experienced actor (URBANIA, BILLY'S HOLLYWOOD SCREEN KISS, etc.) and director of animated shorts ("Backstage With Little Lorenzo"), and he has the kind of dazzling good looks which can stop any movie dead in its tracks. His full frontal nude scenes here are genuinely impressive! Exploitation fans will be surprised to see Nicholas Worth (THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT) playing an ultra-theatrical gay poet, given his reputation as a fearsome screen villain, and he steals every scene in which he appears - his poem-readings are a hoot! Fashion model Geoffrey Moody makes his only screen appearance to date as Tataryn's best friend, a sluttish pretty boy with a penchant for rough sex, and it would have been interesting to see him cast in Tataryn's role (DeCoteau mentions that Moody was OK with the sex scenes but wasn't prepared to do full frontal nudity, which could have been accommodated without threatening the film's erotic potency).
Also included in cameo roles are Andy Warhol/John Waters favorite Mink Stole (PINK FLAMINGOS, DESPERATE LIVING) and veteran gay activist Morris Kight, and DeCoteau's commentary reveals that Joe Dallesandro was considered for a major cameo in the movie, but he couldn't be found in time! Watch out for a truly memorable stripper (Dennis Larkin), and a hilarious cameo from Bob Prest as an irreverent doctor who pierces nipples and other body parts for a living! "
Hulka | 03/19/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Yeah, some of the acting is not always perfect. But this film is REALLY endearing and sweet, as well as fun to watch. The sex scenes are also great. It has a really cool quality that not a lot of gay films have and it also has a heart. I would highly recommend it to those who are looking for something that is not CIRCUIT, or TRICK, or BIG EDEN. This movie was obviously done on no budget, but at least it tries to say something beyond how gay life has to be nothing more than a series of stereotypes involving circuit boys and rich successful artists looking for love. It is nice to see a movie where the characters are gay and basically working class."
An entertaining, positive movie about twinks, leathermen and
Hulka | Washington DC | 04/29/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a movie about a Yin-Yang affair between a "Twink" and "Leather Man", both classic gay sexual personae that have been around forever. Cute as button, blonde and blue eyed Sean Tataryn plays a overly romantic, somewhat naïve "Kyle" who falls for the dark and brooding "Mike" played by Christopher Bradley. The movie delivers a lot of laughs and positive, touching conclusion.
I strongly disagree with all the other reviewers who dismiss Sean Tataryn in his role of the central character, "Kyle". On the contrary, casting Tataryn as "Kyle", as the teenager from the suburbs who writes romantic poetry was inspired! Tataryn plays the role of "Kyle" with the perfect amount of innocence and naiveté that one would expect from a suburban kid exploring his options in the gay scene.
Christopher Bradley is believable as "Mike", the blue collar, leather jacket wearing, motorcycle riding object of Kyle's lust and affection. Mike is sort of "Peter Pan" character, cynical about love, hardened by life, and emotionally unavailable.
Kyle turns out to be the perfect yin to Mike's yang, so the sexual tension between them is interesting to watch as their affair unfolds
At first, Kyle's angelic looks and vulnerability stirs Mike's lust. But Kyle challenges Mike about his promiscuity, and stirs in him repressed feelings for emotional intimacy that Mike finds uncomfortable. The ending scene where "Mike" is so moved by Kyle's reading of a poem he wrote about their affair that he tears up the phone number of the "trick" he was seeing was as powerful and touching moment as I've ever seen in any romantic drama. .
The movie has it's flaws, not the least was it`s $60,000 budget. The movie was shot 10 days with a circa 1969 camera in B&W and combined with the generic 1950's soundtrack, which you may find out of context with the plot and the characters. But the worst flaw in my opinion, is that the movie couldn't seem to decide if it as a serious romantic drama or romp through gay camp. It's not surprising to learn that director was responsible for forgettable flicks with titles like Voodoo Academy and Creepozoids. I found the flood of drag queens and gratuitous sex scenes overwhelmed the dramatic potential of the plot.
Leather Jacket Love Story DOES delivers a positive feel-good experience that is often hard to find in gay fiction and movies. It may even become a gay classic. Sadly this plot, the script and these actors could have delivered a much more complicated and moving picture then this feather duster. On the other hand, it's simple laughs and romantic plot make it the perfect "fluff" movie to curl up with on a friday night when you are too tired to go out, and too lonely to just stay home. I've watched this movie serveral times, and still watch it from time to time a few years later.
Glorious film making
Gregory Holmes | 04/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film is everything an indepedent art film should be. All the characters seem to be having such a great time. It is nice to see a film that manages to be both serious and light hearted at the same time. I'm not sure if this is my favorite film from David DeCoteau (that would probably be THE BROTHERHOOD) but I do think this is perhaps his best work as a film maker. The DVD transfer looks very good considering it came from 16mm. The black and white photography of Howard Wexler is quite beautiful. The DVD includes one of David DeCoteaus less informative audio commentaries. While he is often quite the chatterbox on his audio tracks, David gets so caught up in watching this film that he often seems to forget he is recording a commentary track. There are still some great insights from him however. There are over a half hour of deleted scenes that also include audio commentary. All in all this is one of David's most unusual and beautiful films. It is hard to believe this film came from the same director as NIGHTMARE SISTERS."