DEKKOO DISPATCH 067 – ‘BUGCRUSH’

Title – ‘Bugcrush

Director – Carter Smith

Starring – Josh Caras, Donald Cumming, Eleonore Hendricks, David Tennent

Release Date – 2006

 

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Well it’s a very dark and yet exciting day here in Dekkoo-world with the launch of Carter Smith’s award-winning short-ish film from 2006 ‘Bugcrush‘! This is absolutely, positively, my favorite short film ever – it’s disturbing, sexy, and gorgeously made. The photography, sound design, and choice of locations all come together to reach a level of perfection for my particular aesthetic interests. The short premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and went on to win the Grand Jury Prize for Best Short Film! Based on his success at Sundance Carter Smith went on to direct the Summer blockbuster horror film ‘The Ruins’ and later in 2014 the intimate ghost love-triangle film ‘Jamie Marks is Dead’.

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Bugcrush‘ is set in a small town in the forest-heavy state of Maine. We meet Ben – a mousey nerd-ish loner type who happens to be the first person to talk to the dark, mysterious, and sexy new kid in school, Grant who immediately upon arrival gets an immediate detention for smoking. What does Ben do then? He gets detention on purpose so he can stare at Grant for a couple of hours. Ben’s friends try to talk him down from his obsession with Grant. They warn him that he’s just a straight guy that’ll beat him up if he knew Ben was into him. But none of this deters Ben who proceeds to work up the courage one school day to propose a hangout with Grant that leads to a very bumpy night to say the least…

The film is an adaptation of a short story by Scott Treleaven, an artist who founded the queer pagan punk ‘zine ‘This is the Salivation Army’ back in the 90’s. It was collected in the queer horror anthology ‘Queer Fear 2’ which is where Carter Smith first read it. “The moment I read the short story the very first time, it was like being hit by a bus,” Carter Smith said, waiting in a Dallas airport for a changeover flight to Salt Lake City. “I was like, ‘This is the film that I can make better than anybody else. This is the film I have to make.’ It just sort of clobbered me over the head.” Before making ‘Bugcrush‘ Carter Smith was a professional fashion photographer and commercial director. He was certainly able to bring over his keen instinct for stylization and photography to create a dark and foreboding landscape of teenage angst and sexuality.

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The film was shot on 35mm and the color timing is some of the best I’ve ever seen. Greens have a corpse-like quality to them (except when it comes to Ben’s eyes which seem to be leaping out of the screen at you) and the roads at night are a gorgeous yellow-grey color. Another part of the production that leaps out at you is the sound design. The entire film is filled with eerie moans and distorted childish voices that promote the escalating tension in everyday normal situations like school hallways. The idea to un-synchronize the sound during the driving scene at night is totally brilliant! And so was the idea to have lots of whispering voices giving you additional info about characters. Turn up your volume!!

This movie has everything! Pretty guys, teenage crushes, weird drugs, sexy smoking, metal music, awkward hidden sexuality, creepy straight guys, and cockroaches! Watch ‘Bugcrush‘ with your ‘crush’ tonight!

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Watch it with: Someone you have a dark crush on…

Mix it with: Vodka.

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DEKKOO DISPATCH 064 – ‘IN BLOOM’

Title – ‘In Bloom

Director – Chris Michael Birkmeier

Starring – Kyle Wigent, Tanner Rittenhouse, Adam Fane, Jake Andrews

Release Date – 2013

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Love is always best in the early stages when it’s ‘In Bloom‘. Chris Michael Birkmeier’s first feature film captures the innocence and tragedy of first love with a delicate touch reminiscent of Andrew Haigh’s ‘Weekend’. Although whereas ‘Weekend’ features leads from the UK that you can barely understand, ‘In Bloom‘ takes place in Chicago with super cute clean-cut American boys that definitely speak our language 😉

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As the film opens we’re introduced to Kurt and Paul who after running into each other awkwardly at a party try to be amiable with each other until… flashback! :SEVEN MONTHS EARLIER: A much more carefree Kurt smokes a joint in his bedroom while a frazzled Paul stocks shelves in bland looking grocery store. They’re a couple still in the early stages of love where they live separately, but spend all their time together. They go to the beach and play the ‘which guy is the hottest’ game, they have hot sex, and they go to parties together. We quickly find out the reason why Paul’s working hard and Kurt isn’t is because Kurt sells weed. Which isn’t to say selling weed isn’t hard work, but… it just isn’t.

Kurt and Paul’s relationship is tested by the arrival of Kevin, a new client/customer of Kurt’s. A wildly cute young-and-carefree type he definitely is someone that Paul could never be – younger, cuter, and a non-paranoid stoner. We can tell immediately that Kurt is trying his best not to be unfaithful to Paul, but it’s hard when Kevin is the one to make the first move and kiss Kurt. Gasp!! Of course this throws Kurt into a realm of uncertainty about Paul if he’s his one true love. Is he supposed to commit to this person if he’s interested in someone else? If only he didn’t smoke so much weed… Paul also is going through his own issues. “Don’t you get tired of doing the same thing over and over?” He wants to go to Paris and explore. Kurt just wants to ‘chill’ and have sex.

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When I first saw this film I was really taken aback by its honesty and its emotional connection that I could completely relate to. I was lucky enough to meet the filmmakers at their screening at Outfest and was thrilled to meet a group of people who were just like the film they created – smart, in touch with the gay community, and eager to make more films. The director has cited most of the film coming from his own life experiences and it totally shows. Here’s to hoping he creates more feature films – in the meantime he’s been busy creating queer music videos in Los Angeles.

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Watch it with: An ex you’re friendly with.

Mix it with: Beer and weed!

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DEKKOO DISPATCH 056 – ‘L’HOMME BLESSÉ’

Title – ‘L’Homme Blessé

Director – Patrice Chéreau

Starring – Jean-Hugues Anglade, Vittorio Mezzogiorno, Roland Bertin, Claude Berri

Release Date – 1983

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RARE CINEMA ALERT!! RARE CINEMA ALERT!!

Wow I can’t believe the boys at Dekkoo managed to pull this one off. ‘L’Homme Blessé‘ aka ‘The Wounded Man’ is an extremely rare piece of older queer cinema that has been completely unavailable in the U.S. besides a VHS from ’97! And it’s a crying shame because this is a bonkers gay-as-hell film from one of France’s most famous directors; Patrice Chéreau. While famous in France for his theatrical productions, he was famous abroad for movies like Palme D’or Winner ‘Queen Margot’, ‘Intimacy’, and ‘His Brother’.

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L’Homme Blessé‘ was made in 1983 by Chéreau after working on a script for 6 years with his writing partner Hervé Guibert. In it the pair explore a young man’s awakening to intense homosexual desires that blossom into masochismic longings for one man in particular – Jean – an enigmatic hustler who prowls train stations looking for weak homosexuals he can bully into giving up their wallets. Yup folks – this is not a feel good movie where you’ll feel safe and secure. It doesn’t support the illusion that being gay is all rainbows and unicorns. But I like that sometimes! It’s important to realize how tough it used to be back in the day to be queer (and honestly that still holds in many places). Plus bisexual rough trade is definitely kinda hot sometimes 😉 

Jean-Hughes Anglade (before making his star turning role in ‘Betty Blue’) plays the shy young Henri who visits the train station with his family. While there we begin to see his first tries at ‘cruising’ – obviously something that train station must be very well known for. In a bathroom he stares wide-eyed at Jean – a spectacularly handsome rugged man in his 30s and after re-entering the bathroom finds Jean mugging someone. While trying to run away from the situation Jean catches him and instead of beating him up begins wildly caressing him and urging Henri to help him finish mugging his victim. It’s one of the sexiest criminal queer scenes that exists.

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Afterwards Henri becomes something akin to a slave to Jean. He follows him around, does his bidding, and becomes increasingly annoyed at Jean’s indifference towards him. Of course Jean isn’t completely gay and has a wife which complicates things to be sure. His wife tolerates Jean’s bisexual leanings and criminal lifestyle, but isn’t happy about it. The closest comparison I can draw to this film that exists in the Dekkoo catalog would be ‘Fogi is a Bastard‘. It shares a lot of ideas such as the corruption of innocence, dependency issues, and crime begetting crime. But I think Chéreau’s film delves a little deeper into the darkness of the human soul which I think is why the film divides so many audiences.

Besides being able to brag to your friends that you saw one of the most hard-to-find pieces of queer cinema you’ll also experience one of the most heartbreaking, outrageous, and melancholic films in Patrice Chéreau’s filmography. Cruise it tonight!

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Watch it with: By yourself or with a dark lover.

Mix it with: French wine.

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DEKKOO DISPATCH 054 – ‘BULLY’

Title – ‘Bully

Director – Larry Clark

Starring – Brad Renfro, Nick Stahl, Bijou Phillips, Michael Pitt

Release Date – 2001

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Oh Larry Clark. What a strange and unusual artist. In the late 90s his name was synonymous with the new wave of transgressive cinema coming out of Sundance from the likes of Gregg Araki and Bruce LaBruce. His subject matter is primarily troubled youth coping with the boring, sad world around them – usually through drugs and sex. On Dekkoo we’ve made one of Clark’s classic films – ‘Bully‘ available for your voyeuristic pleasure.

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Still from ‘Tulsa’

Before I tackle ‘Bully’ today I want to talk a bit more about Larry Clark. The preface of his now legendary first book of photography ‘Tulsa’ reveals a lot about Larry:

i was born in tulsa oklahoma in 1943. when i was sixteen i started shooting amphetamine. i shot with my friends everyday for three years and then left town but i’ve gone back through the years. once the needle goes in it never comes out. L.C.

We’re clearly dealing with an artist who spent a great deal of time living in a world that he know he’ll never actually escape from so he instead decided to explore his own world deeper through photography and expose it to the world. ‘Tulsa’ caused a big stir when it came out in 1971. Many viewers were shocked by the world contained within – a world of junkies, teenage sex, and violence. Obviously people responded to the work (Gus Van Sant & Martin Scorsese have cited ‘Tulsa’ as an influence on their work) and he was able to follow up ‘Tulsa’ with ‘Teenage Lust’ in 1983 – building on his world of drugs and isolation.

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A young Harmony Korine

In 1993 Larry Clark saw a young Harmony Korine skating with his friends in Washington Square Park, took a few photos, and then after finding out he was an aspiring filmmaker asked him to write a script about skaters and include a plotline about AIDS. Harmony was thrilled and eagerly wrote the script ‘Kids’ which then premiered in 1995 at the Cannes Film Festival. Chronicling the life of a group of NYC wayward youth, one of whom was unknowingly infecting girls with HIV generated massive controversy just like ‘Tulsa’. Due to it’s NC-17 rating it didn’t earn much money at the box office, but it certainly cemented the careers of both Harmony (who went on to direct ‘Gummo’ and ‘Mister Lonely’) and Larry Clark. After ‘Kids’ Larry Clark directed three movies in a span of nine months! Those films turned out to become ‘Bully’, ‘Ken Park’ (still unreleased in the U.S. to this day!), and ‘Teenage Caveman’ (a silly movie that’s worth watching if you’re into B-grade schlock).

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Nick Stahl and Brad Renfro in ‘Bully’

Bully‘ takes place in Hollywood. Hollywood, Florida that is. There’s definitely no glitz and glam here. Take it from me. I’ve been there. Many times. Don’t go there. Buttt it’s the perfect setting for a Larry Clark movie. It’s full of disaffected youth dying to escape the heat and move to the real Hollywood to make it big. ‘Bully‘ starts out innocently enough with horny teenagers just trying to get laid. But soon we come to realize that we’re witnessing a microcosm of sexual and interpersonal dependency between the main characters of Bobby and Marty. Bobby constantly has Marty in an iron grip of dominance that Marty simply can’t escape from. He might even like it a bit. But eventually the abuse becomes too much and Marty’s girlfriend convinces him that the only way the abuse will end is if they kill Bobby.

Wow – what a crazy-ass movie. I remember watching this in high school and enjoying it, but I definitely did not pick up on how freaking homo this film was. And hot. Bobby is basically Marty’s pimp. He makes him have gay sex over the phone for cash AND forces him on stage to strip at a gay bar. Also there’s a fantastic scene where Bobby literally accuses Marty of being gay, “Don’t lie to me boy I know you like dick”. Messages are mixed in the film as to whether or not they’re actually gay (for other guys. I mean Marty does have an Eminem poster in his bedroom…), but I do think they’re at least gay for each other.

The film is loosely based on a real crime that took place in 1993 – the murder of Bobby Kent by a group of kids hereafter known as The Broward County Seven. Comprising the ‘seven’ are a number of awesome cameos. Most surprising was the fantastic performance by Daniel Franzese (‘Mean Girls’) as a fat drug-taking Mortal Kombat addicted teenager (FATALITY!!). It’s also great to see Michael Pitt (pre-‘Hedwig’) as a complete brain-dead drug addict who can’t make any decisions in life without a tab of acid taking the wheel.

This film is totally bizarre, hot, ridiculous, and disturbing which really adds up to fun-ass time. Watch it tonight!

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Watch it with: Your trouble-making friends.

Mix it with: The traditional bad-ass high school dropout drink: Jack & Coke

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New This Week – 1/5/18

Brad Renfro stars in the Larry Clark film, 'Bully'

A group of teens conspire to murder a bully in this shocking and sexually explicit troubled youth flick from controversial filmmaker Larry Clark (‘Kids’, ‘Ken Park’). ‘Bully’ is now available to stream on Dekkoo.com!

The short film 'Suprise' is available to stream on Dekkoo.com!

Rory and Fred, two unconventional gay men who, after meeting at a hip party in Silverlake, CA, have an instant connection, and decide to hook up. But haven’t they been living together for years already? ‘Surprise’ chronicles the emotional and physical journey of lust and longing, and the sweet tragedy of getting what you wished for.

Watch the documentary 'Scrum' now available on Dekkoo.com!

The lives of a self assured Canadian jock, a rookie Irish backpacker and a stoic Japanese outsider change when they vie for a position in the gay rugby world cup. ‘Scrum’ is now available to stream on Dekkoo.com!

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Coming next week – A sneak-peak at the upcoming second season of the Dekkoo-original series of ‘I’m Fine’.

DEKKOO DISPATCH 049 – ‘YEAH, KOWALSKI!’ AND ‘SEAT IN SHADOW’

Title – ‘Seat In Shadow

Director – Henry Coombes

Starring – Henry Coombes, Ross Hunter, Jonathan Leslie, Marcella Mclntosh

Release Date – 2016

Title – ‘Yeah, Kowalski!

Director – Evan Roberts

Starring – Cameron Wofford, Conor Donnelly, Kaitlyn Knippers, Annamarie Kasper

Release Date – 2013

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Happy Wednesday Dekkoo’ers! We’re getting closer to the holidays which makes everyone go a little crazy so here are a pair of movies that you might sympathize with:

Yeah, Kowalski‘ is a super adorable short film about puberty and first crushes by Evan Roberts. A festival darling back in 2013 it traces a week in the life of 13-year old Gabe Kowalski. He’s a bit of a late bloomer who has two obsessions: Growing armpit hair and impressing his dream-boy, Shane. Shane seems the polar opposite of Gabe. He’s tall, outgoing, and proud of his armpit hair. There’s a lot to love about this film especially the honest depiction of a gay crush at such a young age which hopefully becomes the norm in this day and age.

Next up for your double feature pleasure is ‘Seat In Shadow‘ a film hailing from the UK that has a decidedly mind-bending bent to it. I wouldn’t expect anything less from the feature film debut of artist Henry Coombes whose work has been presented at the Venice Biennale among other prestigious art shows. Collaborating with David Sillars on the screenplay who also plays the role of the therapist Albert they’ve crafted a unique study of mentor-student relationships that can go off the rails.

Albert is an older gay painter and self-proclaimed therapist that lives his own life and doesn’t seem to care what anyone thinks of it. He studies unique ways of living and thinking through YouTube videos like how to make your own toothpaste with charcoal and random lectures on Jung. He also gets very high and talks to his plant he’s named Priscilla. When an old friend of his comes to his apartment he reluctantly agrees to help her grandson named Ben who’s going through a rough time and could use someone to talk to. You’d think Ben would have everything going for him. He’s young, good-looking, and goes to parties. Unfortunately Ben is in love with a guy that’s simply a big ‘ole jerk! He uses Ben and then criticizes everything about him.

The film is comprised primarily of one on one sessions between Albert and Ben. In the sessions they delve deep into human emotions like love, sex, and the desire to consume drugs. You can tell that the director has a deep fondness for hallucinogenic drugs. The movie definitely worships them and the filmmaking style reflects a very twisted and warped view of reality. The best part of the film by far is Albert. He’s painted very realistically with all manner of human flaws inherent in an older gay artist. He’s part monster/part angel and the director really manages to delve into that with a real honesty that’s refreshing.

Well I think you’ve got two extremely interesting films to dig into today/tomorrow/this weekend so I hope you’ll do that and let us know what you thought! 🙂

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Watch ’em with: Your mentor

Mix it with: Absinthe!

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