“Do you have any idea how hard it is to get masking tape in Los Angeles?”

“Everybody loves a good gay romance and these are four of the all-time best. From the hit teen musical charmer Were the World Mine to the unexpected Los Angeles love tales East Side Story and Hollywood je t’aime and across the pond in search of Mr. Right — if you’re looking for Big Gay Love, you’ve definitely found it.”

Since 1985 Wolfe has distributed gay and lesbian films. This collection brings together four of the company’s romantic comedies which feature characters who happen to count being gay among their various attributes.

Were the World Mine
Timothy (Tanner Cohen, As the World Turns) is an out teen who’s bullied at school. To try and make life bearable he escapes into musical daydreams. The lack of slick, obviously moneyed musical numbers helps make it all seem grounded in reality, which is a wonderful choice that buoys the film’s likeability factor. Add in to that a story which involves Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream” and I was sold. But the defining factor which hooked me was Timothy being responsible for his own life. The choices he makes move the story along and the moment when he realizes that the only real thing he’s created is pain is one of my favorites.

Mr. Right
This movie is a good example of a ‘slice of life’ film, and I enjoyed its simplicity. The theme is akin to Love Actually in that it revolves around a group of friends and their love lives. It’s pretty straightforward in its storytelling once you get to know all the players. It’s sweet and uncomplicated with believable characters and a nice circular plotline.

East Side Story
Diego (Rene Alvarado, With the Angels) lives with his abuela and helps run the family restaurant. But his dream is to escape Los Angeles and start a business and family of his own with closeted lover Pablo (David Beron, Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight.) When Pablo dumps him and his aunt outs him, it seems to be the time to leave. Enter new neighbor Wesley (Steve Callahan, Abrupt Decision) and his insensitive partner and you have the stirrings of the love triangle which drives the rest of the movie. The biggest flaw is the glut of ‘Hey look! I’m acting!’ performances. I hate watching movies where the actors seem afraid to become their characters, and this film is sadly typical of a lot of gay-themed movies with this weakness.

Hollywood, Je T’aime
This is the story of Jerome (Eric Debets, The Boy With the Sun in His Eyes), a man with no purpose and no direction. After breaking up with his boyfriend he jets off from Paris to Los Angeles on a whim. Jerome has the emotional range of a sleeping baby. No matter what happened he reacted the same way: sort of a ‘meh’ affection that confused me. More than that, if Jerome didn’t care about what happened to him then why should I? He didn’t feel grateful for his unbelievable luck, or seem particularly happy. So it was understandable that I completely checked out of this film.

As far as tech specs go, all of these films suffer from their low budgets and the only saving grace is that none of the subject matter requires high end video so the 1.33 is alright. However the audio tends to suffer from low levels and it’s definitely more than noticeable. Hollywood, Je T’aime is the worst offender with dialogue completely disappearing at times.

None of the special features are such that I feel the need to recommend them, however if you’re looking for captions they are a special feature which has to be accessed through the bonus features section. Not at all convenient.

There are definitely some diamonds in the rough in this collection, but with a genre-specific collection like this you have to have interest in the genre. If you aren’t a romcom person or dislike gay themes, stay away. If that sounds like your cup of tea I recommend this if only for the value of more films for your money.

THE VERDICT

It was 50/50, but I see the glass as half full, so not guilty.

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