Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Bill's Media Watch: 306

I have to say I really hated a movie called "306", written, produced and directed by [to my surprise] an Out filmmaker named Elliot London.What's even more disturbing is that it's being called a "gay" movie.

The film, which runs about ten minutes, has no dialogue. It shows a young man, who lives with his lover, receiving a text message to take over a shift. It's not bartending, but hustling, as the young man arrives at a hotel room where an older man gives him a drink, a blowjob, and then sodomizes him, apparently without using a condom. The young man, looking disgusted and disheartened, goes home and climbs into bed with his lover, to whom he mouths the words "I love you so much" as he hugs -- her

The ending isn't really a surprise. What's surprising is that a young Out filmmaker would make such a regressive movie. Yes, one could argue that it looks at all of those sad men out there who are gay but who can't and won't identity as such (don't get me started on "gay for pay") -- call boys with girlfriends, married men who screw hustlers in hotel rooms -- but there have already been so many books and movies and plays about those men who live in the shadows of gay life, do we really need another one in the 21st century that adds nothing to the discussion? And what are we to think of the "hero?" He has unsafe sex for money, then goes home to sleep, literally and figuratively, with his presumably unsuspecting girlfriend.[Bet she'll be contacting Dr. Bill any day now.]

Frankly, most male prostitutes tend to be self-hating losers. The guy in this movie, who is attractive and seems intelligent and upwardly mobile, would probably not be a hustler in a million years, especially if he's so full of internalized homophobia that he thinks of himself as straight. There may be other reasons why he's "acting out" -- insecurity, an attraction to men, certainly -- but the movie doesn't go into them.

"306" presents the outdated image of homosexuality as being something negative, dirty, something to be ashamed of, while the hero's hetero relationship is almost presented as if it were pure and perfect [until she finds out he's given her HIV, of course]. And if the character is supposed to be "bisexual," the contrast between his straight long-term relationship and his comparatively sleazy, casual gay "encounters" is so homophobic as to be mind-boggling! On the odd chance that London meant his film as a cautionary tale for women -- ladies, do you know what your boyfriend is really up to when he's somewhere else? -- it backfires badly; it just doesn't come off. 

What was London thinking? Or was he even thinking? So many things could have been said and done with this little movie and its small cast and settings. 

A muffed opportunity and a complete waste of ten minutes.

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