Saturday, June 30, 2007

Shortbus...Not For The Faint Of Heart

Joining Netflix has allowed me to catch up on movies I've wanted to see but haven't had time to do so. Personally, I hate going to a cinema to watch films. Prices are so outrageous, the seats are usually uncomfortable, the venue usually filthy, oh and let's not forget the obnoxious people! Nah, I'd rather wait until the flick comes out on DVD and view it from the comfort of my own home. Case in point, Shortbus.

I first heard about Shortbus last year when there was so much hype surrounding the graphic nudity and sexual nature in its content. I caught photos and video clips here and there from various blogs, but never gave seeing the movie much though. Living in uber-conservative Central Pennsylvania, besides which, no local arenas would dare enlist a film with questionable content for public viewing. The conservatives would have had a coronary and launched an offense about the lack of decency and immorality of it all. With this in mind, now that I've viewed the film, I can understand what an uproar such a move would have caused.

With Netflix you have to constantly place films in queue so movies are available regularly ensuring there isn't a break in service. I took a chance with Shortbus because I usually enjoy Independent films and am not offended by nudity or displays of sexuality. My personal DVD collection holds "The Dreamers" and "Testosterone," so my concern definitely wasn't over nudity or sex. Renting movies always leaves the chance it won't captivate my attention. Will I develop a connection with the characters? Will it overall be worth the hours I devoted to watching? Fear not, Shortbus, in my humble opinion, was EXCELLENT! Now for my friends out there that won't solicit a film unless there is some face of color, then this movie ain't for you. Mind you, there was only one or two blacks in the entire film and they were regulated to minor, insignificant, parts.

The film focuses on relationships, which,include sexual fulfillment. Shortbus starts off by introducing us to three groups of characters having various sexual activity. James (Jamie), a former hustler, is seen videotaping himself nude in the bathtub, urinating and masturbating. He proceeds to record himself performing auto-fellatio and orgasms into his mouth. Unbeknown to James, a voyeur neighbor, Caleb, from two floors above across the street, witnesses his play. This is all full frontal! Nope, no implied suggestion he is performing the act, you behold the whole kit and caboodle.

After Jamie (James) reaches his climax, his boyfriend, Jamie comes home and almost catches him en flagrante. Jamie is a former child star and current off-Broadway actor ("I'm Albino!" See the film to understand that comment).

A scene cut away we're introduced to Rob and Sophia having mind-blowing intercourse all over their loft apartment in every possible conceived position imaginable. Both acts of oral and vaginal/penile penile sex are shown. Rob can be seen thrusting himself into Sophia; Sophia is seen masturbating Rob and giving him oral as well. Rob is unemployed who volunteers at Meals on Wheels. Sophia, on the other hand, is a licensed sex, Couples Counselor, as she prefers the term. Despite the extended sex, we learn Sophia has never, EVER, had an orgasm in her life. The movie also suggests Rob is potentially impotent, but it's not clear, because later on Sophia catches him wanking to Internet porn. Rob most assuredly has an erection!

Finally, Severin is introduced. She's a bisexual dominatrix with artistic ambition. Severin is depicted as a Goth-punk woman who hides behind her alter-ego because she's afraid of not being unique. Later as the movie progresses, you understand why she feels this way.

The story moves along to tell the lives of Jamie (James) and Jamie, who visit Sophia because their relationship has begun to change and they're contemplating opening up their relationship. The three develop a bond when it's revealed Sophia is "preorgasmic." On the advice of the "Jamies," Sophia meets them a club, "The Shortbus," the home of Justin Bond. At this club, anything and every type of sexual expression can be found. Here, Severin and Sophia establish a bond, developing into a working relationship, and later a gradual sense of respect and friendship. Severin helps Sophia on her sojourn for orgasmic bliss and Sophia lures out the creative, unique person inside Severin.

The Shortus club allows us to also meet Ceth, (Seth, spelled with a "C"), out to find his next boyfriend. Ceth gets introduced to the "Jamies" and later becomes the third in James and Jamie's relationship.

The cinema bounces back between the three (four really) character plots of Jamie/James, Sophia/Rob, Severin, and Ceth/Caleb. As it develops everyone becomes interconnected through the Shortbus club. The graphic content settles into the back seat as one becomes one with the storyline and well-being of the main characters. By film's end, I was desperately hoping for a happy resolution to put things to right...I won't spoil the ending. There are a few twists and one or two heart wrenching moments. As suggested it, "We All Get It In The End."

Principally, I give this bold dramatization 9 out of 10 stars. I warn you though, the sex is unequivocally vivid and while I don't think it's pornographic, my friend Mr. Napoleon dismissed the movie as softcore porn with little merit. Naps is just not that deep sometimes! Some may find certain scenes disrespectful or too garish. One in particular has the "Jamie"s and Ceth in a menage a trois and (child actor) Jamie breaks out singing the National Anthem as he is rimming Ceth's ass. I laughed. Shit, its just one more thing to add to Lee Greenwood's "I'm Proud to Be An American." The freedom of speech to depict a guy singing into another gay man's anus is priceless! Proud, indeed. What a way to end Gay Pride month for me, huh? Viva la difference!

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While this blog is not really intended to show adult content, I can't guarantee that an occasional image of male nudity won't appear. Be advised that this blog is intended to be read by people with an open mind. I don't claim any rights to the images nor do I have any knowledge of the sexuality of persons featured (unless they are openly gay...duh). Enjoy yourself and take a small step in my every day life and pondering... Feel free to email any comments or opinions.

President Barack Obama!