Spin The Bottle
I almost gave up on this film halfway through, thinking it was going nowhere gay very fast. Then suddenly everything changed: it got very gay! It’s really worth sticking with this movie.
Five friends reunite after ten years. Bev and Ted are now engaged; Rachel is a cooky actress, getting over being dumped; Alex is a thin vamp who hits on Ted, and then there is Jonah. At school, Jonah was the thick-glasses geek. When the friends reunite, he’s the one who has changed the most. The women are immediately attracted to him, but Ted seems very wary, clearly remembering the past as something threatening and uncomfortable.
In the course of a weekend, drinking and talking and playing old teenage games, passions rekindle.
Don’t try to outguess this one, just let it happen. The lead men are very well cast. Holter Graham is gorgeous enough to make adult Jonah’s charisma believable as well as making it plausible that he still has issues from his childhood. Mitchell Riggs is just right for a “boring” Ted who has, as yet, undiscovered passions.
If I could I’d edit this movie down a bit, taking away some of the periphery storyline and focusing it more on the central players, Jonah and Ted. That aside, this is well worth watching and brings out some pretty central gay issues.
This film is very slow to get going, so much I almost gave up. Which would’ve been a shame because, after the scene-setting and character establishment is done, it develops into a thoughtful study of the gap between what we say and what we truly are, and how the past can never really be forgotten. Though, sometimes, revenge isn’t as sweet as we expect it to be.
Five childhood friends reunite at a beautiful lakeside holiday house. Ted and Bev are engaged, though reluctant to admit it, for fear of ridicule. Ted is a law student with a sad face. Bev, all-American golden girl, is perky and wholesome. Alex is a bitchy, cynical temptress with a dirty mouth. Rachel is reeling from a break-up with her biker boyfriend, a manic depressive/co-dependent, ditzy and baby-voiced.
Host, Jonah, has brought them together for a reason, and there’s tension from the start, when Bev & Ted arrive to find no one around, until the others show up. Jonah is last to make an appearance. Formerly a weedy wimp, the one everyone bullied when they were at school, now a hunk, pierced and tattooed, with a gorgeous body and million $ smile.
Rather like Boyfriends, this is a dialogue-heavy character study where nothing much happens on the surface but underneath old wounds and new scars are obsessively picked at. Its setting is an enclosed environment where anything goes, like something from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with Jonah as Puck.
Hard to review without revealing key points, I enjoyed the film, though it does get bogged down in pseudo-intellectual exchanges (about the patriarchy, for example) I could’ve done without. The best thing it has going is gorgeous Holter Graham as Jonah, though the other actors look good too and convince as a bunch of old friends nervous about returning to the scene of past hurts. I actually ended up liking characters I initially wasn’t drawn to, as often the way with these things.
It takes courage to be who you really are. We all pretend and hide our insecurities. Ted was for me the most interesting character, the one you know has hidden secrets, the little boy desperate for approval and acceptance still pretending to be happy and going along with what everyone else wants him to do. I don’t think it gives too much away to say he and Jonah turn out to have a history. Is he now adult enough to admit what he has kept repressed all those years, and confront who he really is?
There’s a happy ending of sorts, but not the one you expect, or want. Everyone loses something and no one emerges unscathed. There’s a bit of nudity and a couple of sex scenes, though nothing too explicit. Worth a look.