×

Longhorns

The third time's the charm for writer-director David Lewis, whose first two gay-themed features were earnest but undercooked dramas.

With:
With: Jacob Newton, Derek Villanueva, Dylan Vox, Kevin Held, Stephen Matzke, Bonnie Marion, Katrina Sherwood, Sophia Revelli.

The third time’s the charm for writer-director David Lewis, whose first two gay-themed features were earnest but undercooked dramas. “Longhorns” is a whole different animal, a funny and romantic comedy about 1982 Texas fratboys experiencing some discomfiting sexual urges. Thoroughly likable indie has a shot at modest theatrical exposure, but in any case should prove a VOD favorite for gay home viewers.

Kevin (Jacob Newton) considers himself “just yer average good ol’ boy,” attending college in Austin and partaking of his age group’s usual obsession with sex. In his case, however, there’s a slight tendency to fantasize about cowboys and such — even during an athletic coupling with a cheerleader — which he’s too skittish to interpret as anything but a passing quirk. That stance is challenged by powerful attraction to new student Cesar (Derek Villanueva), who wastes no time making his orientation public by promoting “Wear Blue Jeans If You’re Gay Day.” (The slacks everybody forgot they had enjoy a campus-wide revival in response.)

Popular on Variety

Defending Cesar from his homophobic pal Justin (Kevin Held), Kevin is admirably tolerant but also in serious denial of his own urges, as frequently voiced in amusingly folksy voiceover narration. (After he pretty much hustles Cesar into the sack, Kevin rationalizes he was tricked into homosexual acts, but bears “no hard feelings.”)

Once things between them get a little too boyfriend-y for comfort, Kevin flees for a weekend with two longtime guy friends, trash-talking horndog Steve (Dylan Vox) and prissier Danny (Stephen Matzke), at Steve’s rural ranch cabin. The plan is for some gals to show up, ensuring everyone gets laid. But torrential storms shut down roads, marooning the dudes and barring the ladies from joining them. Booze, porn and not-so-idle hands soon find the trio enjoying a more intimate kind of togetherness than anticipated.

Brisk, bright and sexy romp has a sweetly sincere side but never takes itself too seriously. Retro atmosphere is evoked not just in costume/decor choices but in clever use of split-screen, while a soundtrack of original songs deftly mimic early ’80s New Wave tunes (courtesy of “Colma: The Musical” composer H.P. Mendoza, who also served as editor). Script’s ripe Texas-isms (“You’re hotter than a billy goat in a pepper patch”) are drolly outsized, hitting the right comic note without slipping into camp caricature.

One could make a case for the idea that even the casting of thesps who look considerably older than their roles is another clever genre in-joke. Actors are attractive and likable (their several full-frontal appearances suggest possible casting criteria outside acting ability), with leads Villanueva and Newton (who resembles a very young Billy Bob Thornton) especially endearing.

Shot mostly in Northern California apart from a few Lone Star State exteriors, pic boasts a modest but able production package.

Longhorns

Production: A Morning View Films presentation. Produced by H.P. Mendoza, Lewis Tice. Executive producer, David Wang. Directed, written by David Lewis.

Crew: Camera (color, HD), Frazer Bradshaw; editor, H.P. Mendoza; music, Mendoza; art director, Corey Weinstein; costume designers, Weinstein, Richard Gullo; sound, Darcel Walker; re-recording mixer, Mendoza; associate producer, Steven Chiem; assistant director, Bill Gollihur; casting, Raul Staggs. Reviewed at Frameline (U.S. Features), San Francisco, June 25, 2011. (Also in Outfest.) Running time: 74 MIN.

With: With: Jacob Newton, Derek Villanueva, Dylan Vox, Kevin Held, Stephen Matzke, Bonnie Marion, Katrina Sherwood, Sophia Revelli.

More Film

  • Cannes VR

    Cannes Film Festival Plots Major Expansion to VR Program

    Cannes XR, the Marché du Film’s program dedicated to immersive and augmented reality content, is set to expand. For its second edition, Cannes XR has partnered with tech creator Positron and Brogent Technologies to introduce a new VR theater, dedicated space and competition. While keeping its 700-square meter exhibition space in the basement of Cannes’ [...]

  • The Italian Recipe

    Europe-China Co-Prod 'The Italian Recipe' Immune to Coronavirus (EXCLUSIVE)

    With production in China suffering a coronavirus-imposed slowdown, “The Italian Recipe” is one co-production between Europe and China that is poised to potentially capitalize on the resulting dearth of Chinese content. It is positioned to advance European cinema’s efforts to make inroads in China. “The Italian Recipe,” in which a famous Chinese pop singer travels [...]

  • Csaba Kael

    Hungarian Film Commissioner Csaba Kael on His Ambitious Plans for 'Hollywood on the Danube'

    Just months after assuming the role of Hungarian film commissioner, Csaba Káel has designs on revamping the film and television industries to boost content development and production, expand already formidable studio facilities, and become a lynchpin for film and TV production and servicing that extends far beyond Budapest. Káel took up his post in September, [...]

  • Claire Denis attends the 32nd European

    Claire Denis and Phedon Papamichael Join Doha Film Institute's Qumra Lineup

    The Doha Film Institute has added French auteur Claire Denis and Oscar-nominated cinematographer Phedon Papamichael (“Nebraska”) to the lineup of star talent who will act as mentors for the Qumra Masters program during its upcoming Qumra event dedicated to fostering fresh Arab film fare that is opening up to TV projects. They join previously announced [...]

  • Persian Lessons Russian Cinema

    'Persian Lessons': Film Review

    In “Schindler’s List,” most of the actors spoke English, using accents to indicate their characters’ origins. In “Son of Saul,” the cast struggles to communicate in a mish-mosh of languages, as Jews of different nationalities were thrown together in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Stories about the Holocaust — so vital in trying to reconcile the horrors of the [...]

  • KARNAWAL

    Beta Cinema Celebrates ‘Karnawal’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    Beta Cinema has acquired international sales rights to debut Argentine director Juan Pablo Félix’s “Karnawal,” winner of the Le Film Français, Ciné Plus, Gomedia and Titrafilm awards at December’s Ventana Sur. “Karnawal” featured co-producers from five countries: Argentina’s Bikini Films, Brazil’s 3 Moinhos Produçoes, Chile’s Picardía Films, Mexico’s Phototaxia Pictures, Norway’s Norsk Filmproduksjon and Bolivia’s [...]

  • Italian Xmas movie

    Italy's True Colours Scores Slew of Early EFM Sales (EXCLUSIVE)

    Italian sales company True Colours has scored multiple sales at the EFM on several titles including Christmas comedy “Once Upon a Time in Bethlehem,” which was Italy’s top-grossing domestic title in 2019. “Bethlehem,” which scored roughly $17 million domestically, toplines comic duo Ficarra and Picone as a thief and a priest who time-travel to Palestine [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content