I’m beginning to think I should be banned from picking movies for the The Blog Collab because my last few have been ambulating snoozefests with a puffed up sense of their own importance. This week is no exception and even though you might be able to argue that it’s art, it’s not the kind of art I want any part in.
Gay July has been good in many ways but this is a wet fart of a swan song and I’m sorry, Jill.
Beach Rats (2017)
A Brooklyn teenager spends his days experimenting with drugs and looking online for older men to meet with.
If your bag is watching wayward teens wandering up and down the boulevard with their tops off then this is the movie for you. Unfortunately, these adolescents don’t get into enough japes to be interesting, instead they smoke weed and gawp at girls as they walk by and sometimes rib each other.
Frankie (Harris Dickinson) is one of the boys, a hot piece popular within a peer group that seems to look to him for leadership. By night he trawls gay chat rooms where he talks to older men. At first he says he doesn’t do any meeting up but this changes later in the movie.
One evening on the boardwalk, Frankie meets Simone (Madeline Weinstein) who is only too eager to make him her guy. Things are very awkward between them from the start and he continually lets her down. To the men on the internet he is a guy who ‘has sex with men’, not bi-sexual or gay – but his family, friends and Simone have no inkling of his secret life.
Frankie prefers to keep the having sex with men part of his life separate from everything else and chooses older men so they are less likely to move in the same circles as his friends. As his ability to hide this part of himself starts to become increasingly difficult, his two worlds collide in a surprisingly lackluster but horrible way.
And… that’s about it.
There’s not that much to say. The performances are fine, it looks nice with a pleasing aesthetic that focuses a lot of time grazing over the bodies of our teen cast. The ending is a little bit shocking and maybe on reflection more shocking because it’s so mundane in its execution. The only, and I pretty much mean the only part I thought was even mildly touching was the bit where Frankie’s mum begs him to tell her what’s going on after the ‘horrible act’ has happened.
There are shades of Harmony Korine (especially Kids) which I think are very deliberate but not much effort been made to make us like any of the characters. I simply didn’t care about Frankie and his struggles. I was bored silly.
Roll on August!