COULD HAVE BEEN FUNNY...TOO BAD.
Claude Bouchard Jr. | Frederick, MD | 01/15/2001
(2 out of 5 stars)
"While viewing this, you quickly realize that this should have been a "short" (10-15 minutes MAX!). Instead, you end up with a one dimensional joke that's stretched well over 80 minutes. There are some moments of brilliance and cleverness, but they are few and far between. It's more of a shameless Dirk Shafer promo piece than anything else, probably because his glory days are over and he has to get a real job. From the opening shot, you quickly realize that Dirk is getting old, like the rest of us, and that he looks NOTHING like he does on the cover of the DVD box or in the multitude of Playgirl pictures that are shown throughout the film. His choice of characterizations is quite irritating: the gay activists are shown as bitter queens whose lives won't be complete until they "out" him; and for being so in love with his own boyfriend, there are very few moments of genuine caring between them. As one reviewer mentioned, the AIDS sideplot is pathetic and really doesn't belong in this story. Must every gay-themed movie have someone dying of AIDS? Don't people die from car crashes anymore? Or gunshot wounds? The DVD itself is sorely lacking. There are NO extras whatsoever except for a trailer of the film and a scene access feature (they call it "interactive menus"...ha!). No commentary, no interviews, not even subtitles for the hearing-impared! The picture is full-frame; no widescreen is available. This is obviously another rush job on the part of Fox-Lorber. Avoid it."
Drowning in the Shallow End
John Cardenas | Ontario, CA United States | 03/15/2000
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is dunderheaded, offensive, and hot in about equal measure. Shafer is obviously a dazzling physical specimen, and no doubt that accounts for a lot of the interest in this film, as well as the intrigue of his sham heterosexual heartthrob status. However, an intrinsic drawback of this mockumentary genre is that the joke wears thin pretty fast, and we soon feel compelled to groan at the same stale, straightfaced antics. And when Shafer makes the egregious error of using a friend's illness from AIDS (in a particularly lame performance by the actor in the movie here) to lend some poignancy to his slender theme, one may feel compelled to throw something at the screen. The obvious self-satisfaction of these laidback, self-consciously hip types, laughing down their noses at the rubes who bought Shafer's ruse, grates. Shafer seems unaware what a sick joke his feeble movie has become. His obvious self-absorption and lack of acting ability doesn't help things either. One performance does transcend the generally flaccid narcissism and cheap theatrics: the woman who portrays Shafer's mother has a scene where she gets to suggest some of the pain of a mother who realizes what her gay son has had to go through. For a moment, we are lifted out of the sleaze of vanity and lame satire and elevated to the poignance of true human suffering."
A gay "Truth or Dare"?
the buddhadharma | Ohio | 06/22/2002
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This mock-"documentary" is clever in that, I'm assuming, it does tell what could be a somewhat 'truthful' story overall. The problem with this video is that is doesn't know whether it should be funny or serious and this is definately a huge mistake for this kind of project/subject matter. I personally LOVE dark humor......but this aint it!!!
Best is the scene in which the mother talks about accepting herself as a fit and caring parent while she was dealing with the homophobic father of a dying AIDS patient on the phone.
The worst part of this whole video (and frankly I almost stopped watching quite a few times just due to this), are the "date scenes", in which Dirk is set up by Playgirl to go on a contest winning date with some supposedly hick gal (bad actress..bad!) who won it. The scenes never feel real and it's obvious that everyone is over-acting during the whole mess.
One thing I noticed is that while it's never a great movie and really not good either, overall Dirk isn't a horrible actor and I think he's actually pretty attractive, where as before I just thought he was a pretty boy. Also NYPD Blue fans will recognize the wonderful actor, Bill Bochtrup, in the role of AIDS patient and "discoverer" of Dirk the centerfold.
I was somewhat entertained or I wouldn't bother to write about it. BUT, buy at your own risk. Try to get it used if possible and save yourself a lot of money. Do Not buy it if you think it's a sex film or you're hoping for nudity all over the place, there's no full frontal nudity at all....sorry. Peace Out."
What a Film, What a Man
Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 12/20/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
""MAN OF THE YEAR"
Quite a Film, Quite a Man
Amos Lassen and Cinema Pride
One of the more interesting documentaries to come out of gay filmmaking is "Man of the Year" which was released in 1995. It is a look at the "Playgirl" centerfold, Dirk Shafer, who was elected "Man of the Year" in 1992, who kept the fact that he is a gay man a secret from the magazine. He was the object of many interviews and had to have a woman in tow so as to appear to be whom "Playgirl" readers though the was. This caused a great deal of stress both on him and on his lover who lived with him and others pressured him to confess that he is indeed gay. The movie is a fascinating look at magazine publishing and the perils of living a double life.
Shafer appeared on every talk show and when the news broke that he was gay, it sent ripples through the publishing world. His really was no big deal because as we well know, the majority of men who have posed nude for "Playgirl" are gay men and in many cases gay porn stars. When Shafer decided to make this documentary, he also decided that he would write and direct it and he has done a good job. In actuality it is not so much a documentary but a "mockumentary'---it resembles a true film but the cast is made up of actors hired to play parts. Therefore the film is basically fiction, albeit, based on fact.
Shafer has a great sense of humor and the movie is humorous and gay men will find it exceptionally funny and cute. I was amused the entire time I watched it, especially when the issue of being "Man of the Year" is discussed. He is labeled as the "ideal man for every woman" while we know what we know about him. However, Shafer did not think it was funny and he finds himself living a double life he had never intended to have. He was forces to take extra care when appearing on talk shows because one slip up would have cost him his fame. At the same time, women and the gay community sense that he is gay and are determined to out him.
There are times during the film that I felt I was watching not much more than a long interview but it was the best interview that I have ever seen. Shafer brought us his problems beautifully and even though he won a title dishonestly, I could not help but sympathize with him for making a bed that he was having trouble sleeping in.
The part of the movie about exposure to AIDS and death is very moving and it really hit hard. It is good to see that someone is concerned about making a mistake that can cost a life.
The film is an entertaining look inside a year in the life of Dirk Shafer. His angst of being a gay man wearing a straight title is sincere and you can feel the pain he feels for having to live a lie. This is not a deep movie that will make you think so if you are looking to have your mind provoked, this is not the movie for you. It is a movie to be enjoyed for what it is, with its subtle intelligent humor and sometimes touching interludes, it is just plain fun.