|Jason Van Eman||Actor|
Commentary with writer/director Jeff London and stars Ronnie Kerr, Jack Sway & Jason Van Eman; Outtakes; Story: T'was the Night; Widescreen
This is the story of two men coming to terms with the tragedies life has handed them and in the process finding a deep love with each other. This isn't for everyone; I think many movie buffs will be put off by the 'home-spun' aesthetic. The production values are not great: there are some war shots copied from video, a scene hanging Christmas lights outdoors where neither of the actors move, and I'm afraid Jack Sway may have cracked a tooth eating a cookie that was supposed to be right out of the oven. That said, there is a lot to enjoy in 'Regarding Billy'. Made for less than thirty thousand dollars, it seems to capture a story rarely told by slicker, higher budget films: gay characters who live outside large cities. I've seen so many gay films that revolve around the angst of giving up the club scene and settling down with just one guy. (Maybe two if you count the sassy brunch-buddy.) It's refreshing to see two guys find each other while dealing with real life, where gym memberships don't count as commitments. Characters Billy & Dean have been best friends growing up and are separated when Dean joins the military. After his parents die in an accident Billy moves back home to take care of his disabled brother Johnny. Dean moves in after he gets out of the service and has no place else to call home. While they clearly have deeper feelings for each other, both have a lot of internalized homophobia on top of the fear of losing a valued friendship by coming out. This plays against a backdrop of everyday headaches, like work, Billy & Johnny's grief over losing their parents, Billy taking care of Johnny, and growing concerns about Dean's health. The movie sometimes falls into the trap of sentimentality, which will turn some people off completely, but for me, the characters transcend the weaknesses of the film. It has been a long time since I saw a gay character I could describe as gracefully unselfish, and that makes it all worthwhile.
Reading the synopsis on the box makes you think this could be one of those "cute" touching movies. Believe me, the synopsis is better than the actual movie--by far. The story line is so thin--the idea could work--but maybe this was a high school student who wrote the script. There's no movement, just lots or woeful, unbelievable dialogue that just made me fast forward hoping for something to make me at least like this movie a little. I'm glad I didn't buy this movie, but even the $4 I spent to rent it was a waste. I had been waiting to find a good little gay movie again--there are some out there, but this is definitely not one of them.