Robin Williams will break your heart in Boulevard

A beloved American icon who left us way too soon, it’s hard to watch just about any Robin Williams performance without feeling some sense of loss and sadness. His performance in the melancholy drama Boulevard, one of his last, adds even another layer.

Directed by Dito Montiel from a script by Douglas Soesbe, the film follows Nolan Mack (Williams), a middle-aged man who has worked at the same bank for almost three decades in a life of monotony. He and his wife Joy (Kathy Baker) have embraced their marriage as a convenient and comfortable distraction from facing reality. However one day, what starts as an aimless drive down an unfamiliar street turns into a life-altering decision for Nolan when he meets a troubled young hustler named Leo (Roberto Aguire) on his drive home from visiting his ailing father at a hospital.

Nolan begins to seek Leo out and spend time with him. The relationship is never consummated, but they spend hours talking. As Nolan spends more time with Leo, he finds himself breaking from the confines of his old life and coming to terms with who he really is: a gay man stuck in the closet. The more he awakens to his true self, the stranger he appears to his friends and loves ones – especially his wife. An unavoidable confrontation – one that should have been had ages ago – starts to brew.

Co-starring Bob Odenkirk and Giles Matthey, Boulevard takes an unflinching look at the difficulties of coming out late in life and features a deeply vulnerable performance from Williams worth cherishing. The film also comes from a place of honesty. Screenwriter Douglas Soesbe underwent a similar coming out experience, telling Creative Screenwriting, “I came out very late and with a great deal of guilt. This movie is not about me, but I really understand that character.”

Boulevard is now streaming on Dekkoo. You can watch the trailer below.

New This Week – 5/17/19

Robin Williams, in on of his final roles, plays a devoted husband in a marriage of convenience who is forced to confront his secret life. Stream ‘Boulevard’ now on Dekkoo.com!

Javi, a young man from East Los Angeles, is being harassed by his homophobic neighbor. As tensions escalate, he must decide whether to confront his tormentor or turn the other cheek. ‘Pitbull’ is available now on Dekkoo!

A young teacher Ernst falls head over heels in love with the transvestite star Robi Rapp and finds himself torn between his bourgeois existence and his commitment to homosexuality. ‘The Circle’ is now streaming on Dekkoo!

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Coming next week: One woman, one man, a lot of weed, a little crying and absolutely NO sexual attraction whatsoever.

Thoughts on Writhing

HIV is the shadow that seems to lurk behind all gay men. Due to poor sex education in schools that all but ignore homosexual safe-sex practices, a lack of openness with parents in talking about sex to their queer youths, and other various reasons, HIV continues to be prevalent among gay men. According to a study the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ran in 2017, 66% of people with HIV obtained it from male-to-male sexual contact. For the younger generations who didn’t experience the onset of the AIDS epidemic firsthand, there’s often an attitude of “that couldn’t happen to me.” That is, until there’s a scare, and they end up in a doctor’s office waiting for the results of their antibody test.

Reed Alvarado in Writhing

This is the very scenario shown in Writhing, a beautiful short film that mixes contemporary dance and ethereal narrative to convey the agonizing feeling after your finger is pricked. Director and writer, Robert John Torres, has created a stunning and meaningful work of art that perfectly encapsulates the experience many gay men know all too well. The beauty of this film lies in the contrast between Everett (the main character) as he goes in to get the HIV test and the Red Man that twists and writhes in haunting shots that evoke feelings of pain and turmoil.

Keanu Uchida in Writhing

It seems that Torres’ concept of sporadic contemporary dance symbolizes both the gut-churning anticipation of waiting to find out your HIV status and the disease itself. The Red Man is painted head to toe in red and adorned with leather restraints including a mask, juxtaposing HIV and all of the stigma, fear, and tolls it takes on its bearer with the physical act of dancing.

Elizabeth B. Bates and Reed Alvarado in Writhing

For the majority of the short film, we see the dancer in a bed as Everett has quiet moments of fearful contemplation. The Red Man appears more and more as the film continues, the climax of his role appearing when Everett is sharing his fears with the counselor administering the test. It’s at this point when the Red Man is showcased in a strobing double-exposure where he looks as if he’s being tortured. It isn’t until the counselor gives Everett some kind words of support that the red figure is seen outside, dancing with more grace than we’ve previously seen and breaking free from his symbolic ties to the bed.

Writhing - Original Poster Artwork

This short film is a mesmerizing foray into one man’s journey that dips in and out of reality, and we couldn’t recommend it more. You can view Writhing right here on Dekkoo, available for streaming now.

New This Week – 5/10/19

In 1969 police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City’s Greenwich Village, leading to three nights of rioting by the city’s gay community. With this outpouring of courage and unity the Gay Liberation Movement had begun. June 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of these riots. In honor of that historical moment we present this emotionally potent documentary about how LGBTQ people became a vibrant and integral part of America’s family, and, indeed, the world community. Watch ‘After Stonewall’ now on Dekkoo!

Scott, a mild-mannered gay writer in Los Angeles, gets wrapped up into a world of bad boys and their crime-filled past after being adopted as their “Daddy Scott”, whether he likes it or not. ‘Bad Boy’ is streaming now on Dekkoo!

Kai and Tobi share one last night together, remembering a beautiful weekend they once had away from the oppression of Tobi’s homophobic mother – before the light of the world has been put out in this beautiful, romantic and heartbreaking end times drama. Stream ‘1 Last Chance at Paradise’ now on Dekkoo!

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Coming next week: Robin Williams stars in one of his final performances.

The Importance of Organic Queerness in Single Record

For Dekkoo viewers who have not yet watched Single Record, watch out! There are some minor spoilers ahead.

Still from Single Record

Single Record is a six-episode documentary-style series that follows an up-and-coming rapper named Aaron Hunter as he navigates the rocky road of the New York music industry. Along with a killer soundtrack, the show’s cast puts on a spectacularly engaging performance that will keep viewers engrossed as they watch Aaron teeter between the brink of stardom and tragedy.

Watching Single Record was refreshing for many reasons. For one, this great show features a nearly all-black cast. This is monumental for queer kids of color who don’t often get to see people who look like them on the screen. It’s no secret that when it comes to queer film and TV, there’s usually a focus on thin, white gays or twinks. But the queer community is so much more diverse than that, and Single Record is a great reminder of the importance of representation.

Still from Single Record

The other reason Single Record stood out for me was its approach to its queer content. The mainstream media has only recently given queer people room to strut their stuff, but their roles in these stories can sometimes come off as forced or cliché. Often, we see queer people playing the token gay best friend or forced into a role where it seems as if the writers all gathered together and said, “You know what would be fun? A gay person!” While roles like these are still important and no doubt make a difference in the fight for representation, they can feel a bit contrived. When this happens, we are given some pretty flat characters that seem less like real people and more like stereotypes. What these characters often lack is an authenticity that seems reserved only for the straight characters. Why is that? Because the straight characters aren’t being constrained to a pre-conceptualized storyline determined by their sexuality.

Still from Single Record

Just like straight people, queer individuals are multifaceted and have a lot more to them than just being queer. But when it comes to roles in mainstream media, it seems like the only screen time queer people get feature the same old story arcs over and over again to the point where it all feels recycled. Single Record, however, is a great antithesis to this vicious circle of tired tropes. In the show, we are first introduced to Aaron as the talented rapper that he is. His queerness doesn’t even come into play until the second episode when he and Harmon share a kiss late night at the studio. And even long after that kiss, the show doesn’t rely on Aaron’s sexuality. Rather, it allows a queer character to navigate the ups and downs of his life as any normal person would.

Still from Single Record

You can see the organic chemistry for yourself right here on Dekkoo. Stream Single Record here!

Get Out meets Grindr in The Skin of the Teeth

Get Out meets Grindr in The Skin of the Teeth, a sinister new drama-thriller from writer-director Matthew Wollin, who evokes the feel of a contemporary film noir.

Pascal Arquimedes and Donal Brophy in The Skin of the Teeth

When Josef (Pascal Arquimedes) arrives at John’s (Donal Brophy) apartment for a date, their prickly energy slowly gives way to an unusual and genuine chemistry. But after Josef swallows a pill with unclear effects, the night starts to take a shocking turn.

Chuja Seo in The Skin of the Teeth

Josef is suddenly plunged into a surreal world where he is forced into a literal and figurative interrogation of just who and what he is.

Pascal Arquimedes in The Skin of the Teeth

While evoking the surreal work of David Lynch, this wild new film examines race, sex, love and identity in a mind-bending way – and the lead performance will keep you holding your breath from beginning to end.

Pascal Arquimedes in The Skin of the Teeth

The Skin of the Teeth is now available on Dekkoo. Check out the trailer below.

New This Week – 4/26/19

When Josef arrives at John’s apartment for a date, their prickly energy slowly gives way to genuine chemistry. But after swallowing a pill with mind-bending effects, Josef quickly slides helplessly down a rabbit hole of temporal sleight-of-hand, plunged into a surreal interrogation of everything he is. ‘The Skin of the Teeth’ is streaming exclusively on Dekkoo!

Avery D. Wilson is a confident and conscientious pillar of his community…but it wasn’t always that way. In this powerful short doc, Wilson reflects on his troubled childhood, reckoning with the conflicts between sexuality, faith and family and growing up to become “Mr. United States.” Stream the gay short, ‘Mr. United States’ now on Dekkoo!

Upon the death of his mother, a gay man in blue collar America returns to his childhood home. There he discovers a cardboard time machine that he made when he was a boy. As he uses it to get glimpses of his future, he ponders the weight of his life’s choices. Dekkoo Films is proud to present ‘How to Get From Here to There’ streaming now, only on Dekkoo!

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Coming next week: “Seldom has blasphemy been so entertaining…” – Variety