I want to tell you about my latest movie star crush. The object of my fantasies ( this time ) isn't perhaps as well known to my readership as Brad, George, Jake, Jude or the entire cast of 300. Nevertheless, there's something about my darling, doe-eyed Joe Souza that has made him stand out from all these other movie-star wannabes. There's a certain something that Joe has on screen that has set him apart from the film-star herd—and that has placed him high, high, high in my personal firmament, where I plan to keep him for a long time. First, he's devastatingly handsome with large green eyes and dark hair. Second, he has one of those sensual movie-star mouths and the requisite chiseled cheek bones to go with it—not to mention, of course, quite the physique. And, is my Joe talented! He sings, he dances, he's funny and, boy, does he hold focus whenever he's on camera. You see, what really sets my Joe apart from the pack is that in his debut movie he's entirely naked—every beautiful inch of him. It's in a little frivolous endeavor called Naked Boys Singing! that you can see my Joe and the rest of his cast mates strut all the junk they got in their trunks. It's a movie that should be seen by every red-blooded American gay male and male physique objectifier in the world.
For reasons I can't quite put my finger on, I never made the trek to see the long-running stage production ( which ran not just here in Chicago but around the entire free world it seems ) . Perhaps because the immediacy of the nakedness to the audience just wasn't for me but safely up there on the screen, every base instinct in my mind is allowed free range. The movie is a filmed production of the show and isn't particularly well-made—the sound level, in particular, is distorted and the post-dubbing is distracting—but the material itself is winning and presented exuberantly. Songs about cleaning house in the nude, the anxiety of trying to prevent a boner in the locker room and more are charm deluxe. There's even a love ballad—a song about an unrequited lust between a voyeur and his hunky neighbor. And, of course, there's my Joe, who expertly performs a number about having a bris.
There are 14 songs in all and the peppy material was honed by none other than gay icon Bruce Vilanch ( see my separate interview with him ) . I understand that the movie version alters the physicality of the stage productions—where men of all sizes, shapes and colors were featured. NBS! the movie veers from that formula. We get rather fetching guys. No complaints from this department for that smart decision to go with men with hot physiques, the producers and director apparently understanding that the essence of film is objectification and transference. That's a fancy way of
saying that our subconscious responds enthusiastically to the cultures current standard of beauty.
Naked Boys Singing! clocks in at around 90 minutes—the perfect length for this sweet little, über-sexy pastiche and plenty of time for you to fall madly in lust with My Joe.
Reeling 2007: Upcoming Highlights
NBS! premiered as part of Reeling 2007, the International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival and opens this Friday at the Music Box Theatre. Reeling continues through Nov. 18. Other highlights of the remaining week include:
—The Gendercator ( screens Nov. 14 at Center on Halsted ) is a short gender-bending tale that uses Rip Van Winkle as its inspiration. A panel discussion follows this and its companion short, One in 2000.
—Starrbooty ( screens Nov. 14 at Lakeshore Theatre ) is the long-awaited full-length version of RuPaul's superagent parody ( Pam Grier meets Russ Meyer ) . An after-party featuring karaoke will take place at Goose Island Brewery.
—Outing Riley ( screens Nov. 15 at Film Row Cinema ) is the Chicago-made sophomore effort from the first Project Greenlight winner, writer-director Pete Jones.
—The Walker ( screens Nov. 15 at Landmark's Century Centre Cinema ) stars Woody Harrelson as Carter Page III, the impeccably dressed, well-mannered and highly sought society escort of the wives of Washington powerbrokers.
—Queerborn & Perversion: An Early History of Lesbian & Gay Chicago ( screens Nov. 16 at the Chicago History Museum ) from documentary filmmaker Ron Pajak wasn't available for screening but promises a fascinating look at local queer history over the years 1924-1974.
For more information, call 773-293-1447 or see www.reelingfilmfestival.org .
Check out my archived reviews at www.windycitytimes.com or www.knightatthemovies.com . Readers can leave feedback at the latter Web site, where there is also ordering information on my new book of collected film reviews, Knight at the Movies 2004-2006.