Wednesday, October 10, 2012

"Harry and Max": two "pop star" brothers, forbidden relationship

In “Harry and Max” (directed by Christopher Munch), I have to say that I like the characters, and they turn out well. 

This 2004 film (from TLA and Antarctic Pictures)  starts out with two brothers Harry (23, Bryce Johnson) and Max (16, Cole Williams) going together on an early spring camping trip in the San Gabriel Mountains north of LA.  It’s going to be cold.  We see some fuzzy flashbacks of childhood spent amongst Yosemite scenery and performing science fair projects echoing Homer Hickum (“October Sky”) shooting rockets. The brothers are close.  We pretty quickly get the idea that this film will be a precursor of “Old Joy” (Dec. 4, 2011).

The brothers are very close, and just how close makes the film controversial.  They have similar talents. Harry has been the head of a boy band, now in decline, while Max is a rising rock star, with his mother as a money-grubbing manager.  Why don’t they become a “Jonas Brothers” team?

Both brothers are capable of swinging both ways as they find themselves.  In California, some of the behavior of others (both men and women) with Max would be illegal. 

The film becomes episodic  and somewhat unfocused (whereas “Old Joy” stays on the trip and becomes genuinely suspenseful, to the point of being one of the best films of this kind ever made)  Nevertheless, all kinds of other varied issues come up, ranging from circumcision (see “Partly Private”, June 18, 2009), to “incest”,  to intellectual property problems like copyright and libel (both brothers have the habit of suing people).
TLA’s site is here. The film is also called “Harold + Max”.

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