Knight at the Movies Archives
Out writer-director Jonah Markowitz debuts with a sweet though familiar coming out, falling in love drama, UA celebrates 90 years
Shelter, which was the opening night selection at last fall’s Reeling Gay Film Fest, is now getting a commercial run. The debut
feature from out writer-director Jonah Markowitz will open this Friday, the 4th, at Chicago’s Music Box. The film follows the coming
out process of Zach (the brunette buff cutie pie Trevor Wright), a talented art student from a poor family who has been forced to
give up school in order to help support his dysfunctional family. Enter Shaun (Brad Rowe, the blonde, blue eyed heartthrob Sean
Hayes yearned for in Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss), the older brother of Zach’s best friend who, like Zach, is also a dedicated surfer.
Their shared enthusiasm for sun and surf leads to a close friendship, a heated romance (though sorry to say, not one that includes
full frontal nudity for the audience), and then (gulp!) love – all amidst a slew of complications for Zach who must decide between
responsibilities, his art school dreams, his new, hottie boyfriend, etc.
Though this gay coming out, falling in love story is mighty familiar Markowitz wins points for setting it among the subculture of
California surfers who, based on the evidence here, don’t give a rat’s ass about their fellow hang 10-ers sexuality – gay, straight or
trisexual. The laid back attitude from the straight ‘bros is refreshing to say the least. And Wright does well by the Angry Young Man
thing while Rowe is the perfect foil as his extremely patient (and seemingly perfect) potential love interest.
The Music Box is also the location for a week of terrific films celebrating the glorious legacy of United Artists – with several movies of
particular interest to gay audiences. The United Artists 90th Anniversary Film Festival plays April 4-10 with Raging Bull (a
new print) and Bananas kicking off the celebration on the 4th. The Good, the Bad & the Ugly screens on April 5 and West Side Story
(based on the iconic musical entirely created by gay men) on April 6.
Two Billy Wilder films are next and will screen on April 7. The first is the Wilder curio Kiss Me Deadly while the second is Wilder’s
acknowledged masterpiece, one of filmdom’s most deliriously funny comedies, his 1959 roaring twenties drag classic Some Like It
Hot. Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and the exquisite Marilyn Monroe star in the story of two musicians hiding out (in drag) in an all
female band in sunny Florida after witnessing the St. Valentine’s Day massacre. Monroe as the forlorn Sugar Kane talks about
always getting the “fuzzy end of the lollipop” while Tony Curtis does double drag – as both the saxophone wielding Josephine (whose
pursed lips, as Curtis recalls in The Celluloid Closet, were inspired by Eve Arden) and as a phony millionaire playboy (complete with
Cary Grant imitation) romancing Monroe. But it is Lemmon who steals the show as Daphne who literally shakes his maracas after a
night tangoing with rear-end pinching Osgood (Joe E. Brown) and who answers Curtis’ query, “But why would a guy want to marry a
guy?” with a heartfelt, “Security!” A new print will be shown.
Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing and the chilling political thriller The Manchurian Candidate (with bisexual star Laurence Harvey in his best
role and Angela Lansbury as his viscous mother in one of hers) are next on April 8. Gay actor Charles Laughton’s only film as a
director, the masterful Night of the Hunter will be shown on the 9th while 1969’s Best Picture Oscar winner Midnight Cowboy (which got its
initial X-rating because of the scene in which a teenaged Bob Balaban tries to pick up Jon Voight in a movie theatre men’s room) is
set to screen on April 10th along with a pre-Mommie Dearest Faye Dunaway and Peter Finch who are showcased in the black comedy
Network, which won them both Oscars. www.musicboxtheatre.com
Chicago's Music Box Theatre is Gay Central This Week:
Shelter-United Artists 90th Anniversary Film Festival
Expanded Edition of 4-2-08 Windy City Times Knight at the Movies Column
By Richard Knight, Jr.