Breaking Glass // 2012 // 97 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // May 26th, 2012
A night with a man who writes black comedies about white people.
Del Shores: My Sordid Life is a recording of a live performance by Mr. Shores doing his one man show talking about his life and career. If you're asking "Who is Del Shores?" this may not be the DVD for you. It requires a certain level of knowledge about the subject. Del is the man who wrote Daddy's Dyin'...Who's Got the Will? and Sordid Lives that both went from being small plays to motion pictures. He helped write and produce the Showtime series Queer as Folk, Logo's serial version of Sordid Lives, and even mainstream fare such as Dharma and Greg. Del is an important voice in the gay community thanks to all of his literary output for the stage and screen. One of his most moving works is Southern Baptist Sissies, a play that has yet to hit the big screen. He gives you an excised monologue from that show here that is very touching.
This DVD gives you an hour and thirty-seven minutes of Del doing a solo talk in front of an audience that contains many friends and actors who are there to support him. The performance was a total passion project for Mr. Shores, one that was funded for this filming by Kick Starter. He tells stories that relate to his projects, and if you are not familiar with his work most of this may go over your head. It is a wonderful talk about the inspiration for his material, and he's quite frank about what he thinks about each piece and the actors who worked on them. It's fun to feel like a Hollywood insider getting the dirt on many famous names including James Earl Jones, Rue McLanahan, and Judge Reinhold. Del is proud of himself and his body of work, and we get to hear quite a bit of "What's your favorite line I wrote?" He often talks about characters in his plays just assuming the audience will grab the reference and run with it.
Breaking Glass presents Del Shores: My Sordid Life with a good enough transfer and plenty of extras. The picture is a touch dark, but it is a live recording in a theater, so you know they struggled to get the levels right. There's a simple stereo soundtrack that does fine by the dialogue. Deleted scenes are included to give us a peek at some sequences that did not make the final cut. There are some nice moments before and after the show that feature many of the actors in the audience sucking up to Del Shores and telling the camera how much they loved the performance. They are a hoot! Leslie Jordan makes a pretty funny appearance in the dressing room and Beau Bridges chit chats pre-show with Del. You can also spot several people who helped fund the filming of this performance from Kick Starter as they get a spot up in extras for their donation. There are a couple of slide shows, and also a nice little video made by Del Shore's daughter against Proposition 8.
Okay, so you have to know quite a bit about the world of Del Shores to appreciate this DVD. If you're a fan of Sordid Lives it will be thrilling to hear about the real life inspirations for the characters. But if you are just a casual fan, it might be tough to navigate all the in-jokes and references. If you can hang with the self-congratulatory posturing, it does pay off. I can't imagine many Hollywood types would be this brave to let an audience know so much about what it's like to work in show business. This is an intimate look at a man who has been sharing so much of himself for many years, we just never knew until he confirmed it.
Guilty of being a Del Shores extravaganza!
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Breaking Glass
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 97 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Deleted Scenes
* Photo Gallery
* Short Film