Thrill as Judge Brett Cullum finally gets to use the phrase "love your lever" in a DVD review!
"Two Snaps and a circle!"—Men on Film
Men's Mix One is a collection of award-winning gay short films, including Gaydar, Touched, and Burl's. It is a challenging title to review because it is made up of seven films that all have their pros and cons. It's a mixed bag, and maybe that's where TLA Releasing got the idea to call it a "mix." I'm sure they were referencing a mix tape, and not trying to pass judgment on the quality of the overall product, but it's ironically apt. One of the great challenges of gay cinema is to transcend itself, and become good for the sake of art rather than just being appreciated because it appeals to the gay community. Roger Ebert often says if you could take the leads in any given gay film and make them heterosexual, and the film would still work, then they are on the right track. Unfortunately, that will never be the case, because there are extraordinarily unique experiences that will never translate to a heterosexual lifestyle.
I say the best gay films show these unique experiences, and then temper them with universal emotion to appeal to everyone. There are films that should be aimed squarely at a gay audience, with no consideration given to whether it will be seen outside of that world. Gay shorts are prolific because…well…because they're cheap to make; and because there are so many gay film festivals and gay "video" bars, they are shown and seen with more regularity than most other shorts. They are almost always meant to be seen only by their target audience. Also, they can often tackle subjects a full length feature just can't—topics like masturbation, or a barbershop in the Castro. These are gay films for gay men (there's very little here to interest a straight person or lesbian unless they find gay men a hoot). The short film is a way to preserve history for the community, and is also entertaining. And if it's not great, the very fact that it's brief helps you to sit through it. The best thing I can tell you about the collection here is they are all easy to sit through, and one is downright hilarious.
The films individually are:
• 10 Pesos
• Safe Journey
• Shaving the Castro
• Masturbation: Putting the Fun in Self-Loving
Overall the transfers are nice and clean, and the sound is up to the task. No extras are included, other than some assorted trailers for other movies from the distributor. The films themselves vary between widescreen and full frame. My advice is this: if you like shorts, then this is a very strong collection that reminds me a lot of the Boy's Life series.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: TLA Releasing
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