Review: Boy Culture

You won’t find original programming on Logo this attuned to the best and worst attributes of the gay community.

Boy Culture
Photo: TLA Releasing

Boy Culture exhibits a striking density of thought. This is because its main character, X (Derek Magyar), never stops pondering the particulars of the gay lifestyle to which he and his roommates belong. An attractive piece of hustler meat, X says little but thinks a whole lot, and his narration, so wry, self-deprecating, and obsessively analytical, suggests something by Bret Easton Ellis. Though his years of sex-for-pay experience have clearly contributed to his cynicism, they also have enriched his anthropological sense of observation. He has an opinion about nearly everything, mostly about the way gay men cruise, fuck, and disappoint each other, but also about his own warped state of mind (the almost pathological means by which he evades feeling), the Virgin Mary in his closet (he finds her “cunty expression” attractive), and the way a john sets out a bottle of water for him on a table (“Only accept drinks that are factory-sealed,” X advises). Some of his opinions seem to exist only for empty shock (is he talking about God or Dad when he repeatedly says “forgive me father” after consciously doing or saying the opposite of what he feels?), but some are strikingly, almost disturbingly relatable, not to mention distinctively philosophical (note his opinion of masturbation as a form of erasure). Even at its most contrived, as in X’s relationship to the older Gregory (Patrick Bauchau), Boy Culture remains one of those rare gay films to show serious concern for the way issues of class, age, race, and identity affect queer men young and old. Of course, because writer-director Q. Allan Brocka doesn’t have the crude, lyrical talents of his famous uncle Lino Borcka, or the baroque sensibility of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, his film doesn’t exactly achieve greatness. Still, you won’t find original programming on Logo this attuned to the best and worst attributes of the gay community.

 Cast: Derek Magyar, Patrick Bauchau, Darryl Stephens, Jonathon Trent, Emily Brooke Hands  Director: Q. Allan Brocka  Screenwriter: Q. Allan Brocka, Philip Pierce  Distributor: TLA Releasing  Running Time: 90 min  Rating: NR  Year: 2006  Buy: Video, Book

Ed Gonzalez

Ed Gonzalez is the co-founder of Slant Magazine. His writing has also appeared in The Village Voice and The Los Angeles Times. He’s a member of the New York Film Critics Circle, the Critics Choice Association, and the Latino Entertainment Journalists Association.

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