THE LATEST PACKAGE from Strand Releasing's reliable series of gay film shorts is not as sturdy or compelling as its two predecessors (both still high-water marks for such compilations) but does feature one modest hit and one must-see miss.
BOYS LIFE 3
runs March 16-22 at Egyptian
Among the five titles in the program, there's a brisk, typically quirky little French commentary, Majorettes in Space, in which writer-director David Fourier manages to squeeze a cutting AIDS and tolerance message from the juxtaposition of baton twirlers, cosmonauts, cows, condoms, and the pope. Lane Janger's Just One Time, involving the changing partners of a potential m鮡ge ࠴rios, does its one joke good service. Director Gregory Cooke and writer Christopher Landon mean well with $30, in which a closeted teen is forced to lose his virginity to a jaded young prostitute (the ever-jaded Sara Gilbert), but their earnestness turns coy and ends up simplifying the pain of both conflicted young people.
Though writer-director Bradley Rust Gray is too enamored of close-ups and needs to steady his handheld camera, his hITCH is the series' highlight. A glimpse into a road trip with two scruffy alternative hipsters, it drifts along under a familiar, nicely dormant sexual tension. Gray doesn't bite off more than he can chew, shrewdly settling for the unspoken discomfort behind a post-fumble cigarette at sunrise.
Finally, speaking of fumbles, any review of Inside Out has to mention Jason Gould's parentage because despite any superficial protesting, he wouldn't have it any other way. Pouting smugly, the son of Barbra Streisand and Elliott Gould has made a fictional short about how difficult it is to be the son of Barbra Streisand and Elliott Gould. Gould Sr. even plays his father; Babs, presumably, has wisely chosen to await the video release. There are some easy laughs at the expense of Scientology ("You are in dire need of the purification rundown," the younger Gould is advised), but elsewhere the humor is embarrassingly self-satisfied. This tone becomes evident when the writer-director-star—previously quiet about his real-life sexuality—lectures a closeted date about "perpetuating stereotypes," then later shames a paparazzi into humanity, we are to believe, by confrontationally stripping for the camera. (If Gould were actually a paparazzi coup in the first place, no self-respecting paparazzi would lower his lens.) Young Master Gould is already showing distressing signs of his mother's excesses without ever having had the career to back up the indulgence; it's like giving us The Mirror Has Two Faces before we've been allowed the pleasures of Funny Girl.