An older artist, shunned by the white-hot media of the contemporary world, begins to glow again when he meets a handsome, not-altogether all-American boy. In 1998, two writer-directors brought extraordinary care to this subject, creating films that appeared on several top 10 lists. Gods and Monsters won an Oscar for Bill Condon's screenplay and a nomination for Ian McKellen's acting. Richard Kwietniowski's Love and Death on Long Island was forgotten during the award season. John Hurt has rarely been better as Giles De'Ath, a renowned British author of dry, laborious text. By sheer accident he sees a Porky's-type comedy at the theater: Hot Pants College II. About to leave, he spies on screen his very idea of beauty: a near-talentless American actor named Ronnie Bostock (Jason Priestley, in another deft, underseen performance). So starts De'Ath's very long trek out of his shell. He is so out of touch that when he purchases a VCR (to see the original Hot Pants College, no less), he doesn't realize he needs a TV set to view the picture. By film's end, he will meet his idol and jump into an abyss. Kwietniowski's debut film has uncommon sensitivity in the realm of fantasy and dream makers. As with Gods and Monsters, its homosexual undercurrent can play comfortably in front of straight viewers looking for crisp writing, fresh perspectives, and great acting. --Doug Thomas
But what of you my darling? For no one on earth knows you better than I do. And if you've read thus far, I know you'll never bring yourself to destroy this letter, nor will you ever show it to anyone else. And it will gradually dawn on you that your life might have taken a very different course had you simply been able to open your heart to another. And you'll often return to this letter. You'll read it again and again in the years to come until you no longer have to read what you know by heart. And you'll cherish it as a source of pride in the face of an uncaring world.
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