Friday, December 12, 2008

"The Conrad Boys" is a tender coming-of-age film about "family responsibility"


"The Conrad Boys" (from Newport Films and Pro-Fun Media), written and directed by Justin Lo, is a nice gentle film about “family responsibility” with some twists. Charlie Conrad (Justin) is a conscientious honor student who dreams to go from California to Columbia to study history. His mother dies of an unexpected heart attack, and he sacrifices his own college opportunity to take care of his younger brother Ben. The father (Barry Shay) had left and not even returned for the funeral, which means that Charlie is sacrificing because of his father’s “sin.”

Charlie meets a 22 year old drifter Jordan (Nick Bartzen) who claims to be an aspiring novelist and wants to use Charlie as a character in a book, while at first knowing little. Charlie breaks away from raising his brother to do “grown up things” to follow through on his attraction to Jordan. But Jordan has a shady past, with misadventures in Mexico. In the meantime, the father returns and wants to repair the relations. Jordan’s acquaintance tries to set up a caper, but Charlie uses his smarts and his father to outwit the caper. Then everyone reconciles. There is some tenderness in the movie and it is sometimes effective.

The Logo link for online viewing is this.

A related short film is Daniel Ribeiro's "You Me & Him" ("Cafe com Leite", from Brazil, 12 min) in which two young gay men try to keep their relationship while one man must raise his younger brother after the parents died in an accident. On that DVD (Picture This! "Boys Briefs 5", a title which is a pun) there is a film Dave Snyder's "Yeah No Definitely" in which a young man gives his lover an insulin shot for juvenile diabetes; I've never seen that on film before.

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