Movie Review By Andrea Chase
Ah romance. It may not always be hip, but it never quite goes out of fashion. That's why a gay film such as "Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss" has such broad appeal. Who among us has not longed for an unattainable object of affection? Writer/director Tommy O'Haver taps into that universal experience and cushions the amorous roller-coaster ride with droll wit, thoughtful insight, and an enormous sense of style
He gives us a hero in the person of struggling photographer Tommy, played with winning hang-dog charm by Sean P. O'Casey. He's a minority within a minority, a homosexual and a romantic; a person with taste adrift in a world of people, most of whom don't. After settling too long for leftovers in the refrigerator of love, Tommy spots his potential Mr. Right waiting tables in a diner. A guy, as he puts it, way to good looking to be schlepping coffee. And in the person of the delectable Brad Rowe, who looks like Brad Pitt, only a zillion times better, it's only too true. He's Gabriel, a musician recently moved to L.A. Right away, there's a snag. Gabriel left his heart behind in San Francisco, and it's in the keeping of, gasp, a woman. Still, Gabriel seems flattered by Tommy's attention, and even more flattered to pose for him, as the only non-drag model in a tribute to great Hollywood movies, leaving Tommy and his pals wondering just what the heck is up here.
O'Haver is sentimental without being schmaltzy. And clever, too. When Tommy daydreams about Gabriel, it's in the idiom of classic cinema, complete with white tie, tails, and an orchestra. He has a subtle way of showing not only how wonderful romance can be, but also how rare it is, making it all the more precious. When a trick of fate flings Gabriel into Tommy's bed for a platonic sleepover, only Trent Lott won't be rooting for Billy.
Plus, Paul Bartel drops in as a wildly successful photographer who wickedly lures Gabriel into a better modeling job and who knows what else and Warhol superstar Holly Woodlawn makes a cameo as the hostess with the mostest.
"Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss" is a winner. See it with someone you love
© 1998 - Andrea Chase - Air Date: 7/21/98
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