Sunday, July 07, 2013

"Bad Boy Street": A French-American gay comedy with a bizarre "legal seafoods" plot twist

The Franco-American “gay” film “Bad Boy Street” (“La rue du mauvais garcon”, 2012) by Todd Verow starts out in a provocative (if trite) enough way when middle-aged French “renaissance man” Claude (Yann de Monterno) finds an American young hunk (Kevin Miranda) passed out on a Paris street near his apartment.   Finding no identification, he carries the guy to his apartment (I wouldn’t do that, but this is a movie).  The guy quickly recovers, and is an American, not French speaking, named Brad.  No, this doesn’t become a horror film. Quickly, the become intimate, and Brad is surprisingly receptive.
Claude is prosperous and cultured – he comes across as an impersonation of Clive Barker’s character Gentle from his 1991 novel “Imajica” (I wait for a movie on that one.)  He is capable of bisexuality, as he has a girl friend, too, Catherine (Florence d’Azemar).  He also says that he returned to France after a failed relationship in the US.  (I know the feeling;  after “it’s over”, it’s sometimes good to start over in a new city.)

The 80-minute film goes the way of modest Parisian gay social situation comedy for a while  But two-thirds the way in (a little past the screenwriter’s “middle”) the plot takes a bizarre twist indeed, and probably something important, that lawyers (and maybe Electronic Frontier Foundation) will make note of.  Brad has departed for a bit, and still a bit of a mystery;  Claude gets a text, and a middle-aged American, who says he is “Brad’s” agent pays a visit to his apartment.  Brad apparently is starring in a film and his studio has made him sign a “morals clause”.  That seems out of place for 2012.  But the agent goads Claude into signing a confidentiality agreement.  I wondered how this could even be possible.  Claude himself has no legal obligation to “Brad” or to the studio, and has no contract with it;  he seems to get no “consideration”  (in legalese) for it.  Add to that the fact that the studio is in the US (California).  Would such an agreement be recognized in France?   I wondered if a situation like this could occur for bloggers or particularly for operators of celebrity “fan sites”.
We get to see a little bit sci-fi film, about Luna of something; it seems as though Brad plays a Clark Kent-like character, although the excerpt is a bit silly (no match for “Man of Steel”).  Maybe he’s making the movie for a comic book franchise (of the ilk of Marvel of DC Comics) that really would try to enforce a clause like this on its actors.  I wonder.   (They could have imagined making “Imajica”.)

The music score, by Greg Sabo, has an interesting continual progression of fast motives over a passacaglia-like ground bass, a bit in the manner of Glass.  The music sounded familiar (maybe has been performed in a classical concert somewhere). I didn't hear the song "Bad. bad boy" from the 60's;  it would fit. 
The official Facebook (TLA)  is here.  I watched it on Netflix, and TLA sells the DVD.  I think this film would make a good candidate for the YouTube “legal” $3.99 rental. 

I can think of ways to make this plot idea more compelling.  Keep it within one country.  Instead of making the “issue” the gay one, make it have to do with the movie business or unions (although then the film would demand more from the audience.)   The  idea might work well with a UK setting.  

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