The Last Straight Man
Written and Directed by Mark Bessenger
Released May 6, 2014
Out To Kill
Written, Produced, and Directed by Rob Williams
Released July 1, 2014
Review by Stephen O. Murray
June 11, 2015.
I remain dubious about the premise of The Last Straight Man: starting with a rowdy bachelor party after which the groom-to-be, Cooper [Scott Sell] stays in the hotel room with his longtime best friend, Lewis [Mark Cirillo], with whom he proceeded to have oral sex. Lewis, the prudish gay one who spurned a lap dance from the party’s stripper, reciprocates kindly.
Every year, the two return to the hotel room, maintaining Lewis’s hopes as Coop becomes an increasingly enthusiastic bottom on his one-day-a-year vacation from being husband and father.
Almost all of The Last Straight Man was filmed in a Palm Springs hotel (with a confusing final scene at a Malibu park). Though shot almost entirely in one hotel suite, the movie does not seem stagey. Director Mark Bessenger’s shots were carefully conceived (which is not to say that I like some of the choices), and the weighty dialogue is carried by close-ups of the two convincing actors.
There is plenty of full-frontal nudity, though the sex scenes are coyly shot, including the first anal sex scene shot entirely above Coop’s neck. The lovers are alone together, often in various stages of undress, through most of the movie. Both lead actors are straight, but the is sex passionate and the fraternal love convincing.
Both Sell and Cirillo are very, very good in their roles (and one of them (Cirillo) is packing).
The movie itself sometimes is guilty of musical overkill (in the deleted scene, the dialogue is almost drowned out by music). The set-up takes far too long, and even with one deleted scene, the movie runs 100 minutes.
However, having just re-watched Last Tango in Paris, I can say that both actors are more convincing than the once-heralded Marlon Brando character in Bertolucci’s turgid “classic.”
The Last Straight Man DVD, released last February, includes four interviews of cast members, deleted scenes, and a multi-voice commentary.
Scott Sell also gives excellent performance in another 2014 gay independent movie, Out to Kill, written and directed by Rob Williams, in which his character, Jim Noble, moves into an all-gay Tampa complex saying he is a private investigator.
His services are retained by Gene Sherman [Rob Moretti], the only person in the complex who liked the acutely hedonistic, extremely arrogant, very promiscuous, and now-dead Justin Jaymes [played by singer Tom Goss].
Mark Strano played another shy, responsible gay man [as in the 2014 Tiger Orange]—this time a dentist named Vic Barnaby whom Noble befriends and involves in his investigation.
The movie has a lot of talky exposition but also some beefcake (the three smooth Steves and the hirsute Vic and Jim). There are flashes of wit and a plot twist (the timing of which could not happen IMHO). Sell looks good clean-shaven, stubbled, or fully bearded and carries the movie.
I don’t think that either movie has much crossover appeal to straight audience, but both give gay male viewers much to look at and to think about.
The more I think about it, the more The Last Straight Man strikes me as gay fantasy/ies. Tell the straight best friend for whom you long that you have sucked cock, hoping that he will let you suck his, and he first wants to try going down on you, and is a “natural” at it (no teeth, even the first time working on your very large organ). You may only get to bed him once a year, but soon he is an enthusiastic bottom. And, when you tire of the thrill of sex with a married man who continues to insist that he is straight (except with you, very special you…), you refuse him and make him suffer longing to receive your phallus in his orifices.
Plus, the bellboy in his uniform with the name tag you have used to invent a partner returns after your straight conquest leaves, is very available, and becomes the partner you invoked (at least is around for the last scene in the Malibu park with Coop’s wife and son. Followed by acting out superheroes bouncing together on the bed in the room of the annual tryst during the credits.
Partially published on Outinjersey website, 11 June 2015
©2015, 2017, Stephen O. Murray