The documentary Looking for Romeo (5/8) was at turns fascinating and frustrating. This glimpse into the world of hustlers is a series of interviews with a handful of young, pretty men who make a living having sex with other men, and most, admittedly because their lives have offered them limited choices. Surprisingly, there are also a few interviews with johns who hire these young men, all of them at the least a generation older (if not more) and each with quirks that make them creepy and/or sad. The doc is slight, running at only 41 minutes, and I felt it just scratched the surface.
Director Arthur Ian was at the screening, explaining that in more than one case, he wasn’t able to even get a follow-up interview with his subjects… he was simply never able to track them down again. This is especially tragic in the case of one young man (can’t remember his name) with a sweet face and the most horrible horrible stories about abuse at the hand of his step father (director Arthur said he didn’t even include the worst of this kid’s stories). What happened to this poor kid? His story (along with the story of an attempted suicide by one of the johns) make me tear up. It’s haunting, and just scratches the surface of an intriguing topic.
Then for something completely different, I caught one of the Centerpiece films, the curiously titled Drool. Laura Harring (the gorgeous femme fatale of Mulholland Drive) somehow is made to look frumpy as put-upon Oklahoma housewife Anora. She is mousy and meek, and it is not hard to understand why as her husband Cheb (Oded Fehr) is a complete and utter asshole. We quickly find out that he is racist, to boot, when he finds out the new neighbor Imogene (Jill Marie Jones) is not only black, but is getting friendly with his wife. When he catches them getting friendlier than friendly, he explodes, and Anora protects herself with a gun. Next thing you know, Drool turns into a quirky road-trip (in the “body in the trunk” way) with Anora, Imogene, and Anora’s two kids in tow and Imogene takes them all to a friend’s place in Savannah to dispose of the body. Drool definitely has a quirky sensibility that I liked a lot, and the cast is certainly game, especially Harring, Jones, and Ruthie Austin as the outrageous Kathy K. (a Mary-Kay type cosmetics queen). But the tone is uneven, and the dark parts (the abuse, a curious side-story of Cheb encountering his own awful sexual humiliation at work, and the daughter’s own high school sex drama) are pretty dark. And with all of the icky stuff, there is disappointingly little payout with the quiet friendship/romance between Anora and Imogene. Just when you think there’s finally going to be payout, well, the movie is over. What? Still, Drool was enjoyable.