I wanted to write about two short films I saw recently, both biot quite pointedly LGBTQIA related, but…
First is Sophia Kargman’s ‘Query’ is about two young men who have been friends since they were eleven years old. The short happens in a course of a day when in the beginning the two men starts talking about sexuality and relationships. Their conversation gets very specific, and you can sense the two characters are very comfortable with each other. By the second half of the film, that comfort is tested when one of them suggests they kiss – will it be a big deal or not? Will it change their relationship? The answer lies in one’s interpretation, of course, but this short is effective in making people question what they think they believe in.
Both actors – Justice Smith and Graham Patrick Martin have good chemistry and you believe the both of them.
I also believed Dylan Sprouse as a male prostitute in Christopher Copolla’s ‘Daddy.’ He gets hired by an older man who just lost his wife. So Sprouse dons a pink dress and has dinner and dances with teh character of Ron Rifkin. You see it’s loneliness that brings the two of them together, and by the end you can see how the transaction has played out.
I commend Sprouse for taking a role like this, which is a little risqué for his teenybopper pretty boy image. I just wish there was a little more characterizations to both characters. But the short film effectively shows what it sets to do.
So I am not gonna lie. I wanted to see ‘Banana Split’ because of Dylan Sprouse. I mean, he is a cutie. I remember this was on the roster of the Los Angeles Film festival and it was such a hot ticket (because of Dylan Sprouse, I heard) and I had been awaiting its release since then. And now that I have seen it. I can say that this is a great movie – but not because of Dylan Sprouse. To be honest, he is the third lead here, and quite frankly, his role could have been played by any other young actor and it would not have made a difference.
A lot of people have compared this movie to ‘Lady Bird’ and I see why – it’s a story of a young woman graduating from High School and in the course of the summer before her Freshmen year finds a little bit more about herself. Hannah Marks stars and wrote this film based on her own experience. This film is also about women friendship, which in a lot of cases is a lot stronger than most romantic relationships. Think of this as a started Oprah-Gayle story. I think there are some lesbian undertones too, but I am not an expert on that. But Marks gives a great performance here, along with Liana Liberato, who plays Clara. I found myself thoroughly enjoying this film, and that is note even the Quarantine speaking.
Teenagers – they can be a tricky bunch. But they are such a prime movie demographic that films will continually be made for and about them. I saw two recently.
‘Dismissed’ is heavy, and is a kind of a twist in the Fatal-Attraction formula. Dylan Sprous stars as Lukas, a type A student who will stop at nothing to get the A he craves. Even though Lukas is an over-achiever, he has a twisted sensibility and when he gets a B+ instead of an A on his report, things ho haywire in the life of the teacher (Randall Park) and he suspects that it is all Lukas’ doing. Even though the premise is formulaic, I totally got into this thanks to a superb performance by Sprouse, who shows surprising depth. The character is a psycho, but there is something human (even charming) about him that I fell into the trap. I wish the story had a little more meat, but it’s entertaining enough, and it kept my attention even though this is from a genre I normally avoid.
SPF 18, in theory, is more my speed. It’s about Penny, a teenage daughter of a famous talk show host, who gets invited to house sit Keanu Reeves’ house by a guy she has been eyeing for a while. They went to the prom, but nothing happened, so she is hoping. The story is a bit more confusing than it should be, with a friend of hers tagging along, and a musician who camps outside their house. It’s a mess, but there is something endearing in this modern fairy tale that made me smile. There are great cameos here – Goldie Hawn, Pamela Anderson, Keanu – that act as distractions, and even though it wasn’t the best thing in the world, it brought me just the right bit of eternal sunshine.