Wednesday, August 13, 2008

'Shortbus' - A Gay-Themed Film That Has It All

I seem to be getting a bit stuck on gay-themed films here! But ... .

When you start playing 'Shortbus', you'll be forgiven for thinking you've mistakenly (?!) rented out some (very high quality) porn film. Lots of big hard dick, and sucking and fucking and rimming ... men-to-men, men-to-women and women-to-women. In pairs and way beyond.

In one of the opening scenes, from which the still above is taken, you think:
  • what a hot guy
  • wow, he's naked !
  • wow wow, he's really getting hard !!
  • far out, he's gunna pretend to cum in his own mouth !!!
And it keeps coming.

With the super cute toy boy of the two main protagonist gay lovers having 'The Star Spangled Banner' sung into his butt hole while he's getting rimmed - cos he wants more noise. Understandably, he's inspired to join in himself, using a dick as his mike.

New Butt Hole Version of 'The Star Spangled Banner' (Photo Enlarges - BIG!)

And all with some pretty sparkling dialogue, and one-liners:

'I used to want to change the world, now I just want to leave the room with a little dignity'

But I would do a disservice to the film to just dwell of these aspects - cos it's so much more than the sum of these (abeit hilarious) parts - I'm going to risk sounding like a film industry PR man!

'Shortbus' is full of authentic but not narrowly stereotypic gay (and straight and inbetween) characters.

From the central gay couple (Paul Dawson and PJ DeBoy) ...

... the drag queen and wise 'oracle' MC (Justin Bond) of the 'Shortbus' salon ...

A Shortbus Salon Show

... and the young independent new-thinking toy boy (Jay Brannon) - 'I like to think that a model is like geometry - it's all lines and angles' ...

... to straight and experimenting (?) characters, like Sophia (Sook-Yin Lee) ...

Sook-Yin Lee, actor, and John Cameron Mitchell, the film's director

... and the drag kings and deliciously-moustachioed and gender-reconstructing gay women.

All just presented as part of this 'scene'. Inclusive politics at its best and least unforced.

There's a liberality of thought that doesn't let things to get fitted into cliche and politically correct film outcomes.

And all in a feel-good package - what more could you ask for!


  1. Couldn't agree more. It is in my collection, in fact it is within arms reach of the keyboard having just gotten it back from my therapist who I loaned it to since the central character is a therapist.

    For those of you who want to know some background on Shortbus, it is the latest work from the director who brought us the show and movie Hedwig And The Angry Inch.

    For any of you inclined to rent this after Nick's recommendation I say make sure to also watch the DVD extras which are exceptionally interesting.

    Alan down in Florida

  2. This really is a fabulous movie and I thought the same thing you did - WOW - a porn film disguised as a feature flic!

    I mean, it did show at the Toronto Film Festival to great acclaim, and the straight woman lead is a CBC Radio host...

    It does have a message and it's well worth watching. More than once. With a friend also would be nice...


  3. i agree with alan - if reading here turns to renting (notting hill!), then the extras are great - think it's the only time i've ever thought so. well, nearly the only time. plan to get the DVD - one of those that are good to have at hand cos it stands re-watching.

  4. The last picture in your post is of John Cameron Mitchell and one of the stars of the movie...not the lead 'straight' couple. Just so you know.

  5. hey michael, glossed over the photo and thought it was one of Raphael Barker! thanks for pointing it out.

  6. hey bogart

    yeah - a great blend of two genres!

    and I like your advice of seeing it with a friend

    i wondered about the cast - whether they were actors or not or a mix or in related industries (for example, drag/performance). so thanks for filling in blank bout the character Sophia.

    I mean, it did show at the Toronto Film Festival to great acclaim, and the straight woman lead is a CBC Radio host...

    It does have a message and it's well worth watching. More than once. With a friend also would be nice...

  7. two years ago i read somewhere about the movie and thought i sounded interesting. but since the explicit (gay)sex-scenes where mentioned i didn't dare to watch it with anyone else. maybe it's just me being a little inhibited (though i definitely wouldn't describe myself so) but afterwards it felt like the right decision. still i loved the movie, and not only because of the handsome actors, and am also thinking about buying it. another thing i think is quite important to mention is the fact that jay brannan ist absolutely cute. and he's a great singer. apart from the in the movie performed "soda shop", he has another great song called "ever after happily". had to tell all of my friends about those. luckily they didn't ask where i knew them from.

    great blog by the way. greetings from germany, frederik

  8. hey frederik. yep, it's a great movie - think i'm going to buy it too. and you are right about jay bannon - very cute - and sings well - i've been googling some of his hits - i think there are four that i really like. as i mentioned, the character he plays is so interesting - really captures a gay type i meet about often these days - but not in a captured in a stereotyping way.

  9. Hey Nick.
    Somewhere on the nets (I forget where) I saw that little clip of that hot guy shooting his cum into his mouth and figured I HAD to watch that entire movie. Definitely worth watching, although I still think that cum-in-mouth part of the movie was the hottest.

  10. hey greg. i looked for that clip - wanted it as the lead 'pic' for the post. such a great start to a movie - set the tone perfectly. i'll see if i can find it again and fix the post!

  11. This film "Shortbus" can be obtained at NETFLIX, really!

  12. thanks for that anon. take care. nick

  13. Don't rent, buy. You'll want to keep it. And don't overlook Lindsey Beamish's AWESOME performance as the dominatrix, Severin.

  14. hey iain, yep, it's one of those (rare) movies you wanna have at the ready when you wanna see it again - and you will.