The Big Gay Musical (2009) (NTSC)

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Released 6-Oct-2010

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Musical Audio Commentary-Feature length, directors,editor and star.
Interviews-Crew-8:14 :Director Casper Andreas at Tampa Gay Film Festival.
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-6:42 : Interviews and filming, 1.78:1 and 16x9.
Theatrical Trailer-2:04 Good trailer, 1.75:1 and 16x9.
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2009
Running Time 90:35
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Casper Andreas
Fred M. Caruso
Studio
Distributor
Embrem Cinema
Beyond Home Entertainment
Starring Daniel Robinson
Joey Dudding
Jeff Metzler
Liz McCartney
Brian Spitulnik
Andre Ward
Steve Hayes
Jim Newman
Celina Carvajal
Michael Schiffman
Marty Thomas
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI $24.95 Music Rick Crom
Fred M. Caruso
Scott Starrett


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Black and white sequence prior to title.

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Casper Andreas is a young filmmaker whose works to date have been placed in the milieu of gay culture. Two of his films have come to me for review. Between Love and Goodbye is a dramatic love story which I will be reviewing next week, and The Big Gay Musical, a movie which will resonate with anyone who has discovered the rare pleasures to be found in those tiny Off-Broadway shoeboxes masquerading as theatres.

     The Big Gay Musical is a show within a show, as was Cole Porter's Kiss Me Kate and Ken Russell's film version of The Boy Friend. A tiny Off-Broadway theatre is staging a new musical, Adam and Steve - Just the way God made 'em. The leads, Adam and Steve, are being played by Paul (Daniel Robinson) and Eddie (Joey Dudding), two aspiring young actors who, like the rest of the males in the show, are gay. Paul is the more experienced of the two, both professionally and sexually - one of his numbers is "I Wanna Be a Slut" - and he is seeking the man of his dreams, but not always in the best of places. Eddie is a Broadway, and sexual, virgin who has hidden his homosexuality from his parents. Of course the Mormon "Mom and Pop" are coming to "Noo Yawk" to see their boy make his Broadway debut. However, they'll see a lot more than they bargained for. This is all very traditional backstage musical movie fare, with the more seasoned trouper - think Ginger Rogers - and the hick from the sticks - Ruby Keeler, of course - the stage door Johnnies, b****y dressing room gossip, disastrous one-night-stands and the continual search for the right guy. Of course opening night is a triumph, Mom and Pop tearfully cheer their boy's success, and there are fadeout clinches for both Paul and Eddie.

     The ladies are not excluded from the show - they just take a definite back seat. Liz McCartney is the standout female performer of Adam and Steve, with her "eleven o'clock number" a worthy showstopper. However, what makes this all different is, of course, the fact that the love stories are male on male. The movie does not sensationalise any aspects of the relationships. The love scenes are love scenes, the sex scenes are sexy - but no frontal reveals. It's all honest without descending to vulgarity - which is more than I can say for many of today’s mainstream "rom-coms", such as the particularly revolting The Ugly Truth. I guess some may be offended by the frank openness of The Big Gay Musical, but then they shouldn't be watching the movie in the first place.

     The youthful males in the cast are all attractive, fit and disgustingly healthy. Robinson and Dudding give natural, warm performances, look great in their g-strings and can both really sing. It is a pleasure to hear clean, natural voices, without the artificial aid of electronics. This is just what you get in those small NYC theatres where performers are so close and immediate, generally performing without microphones. The Adam and Steve sequences, of which there are many, were filmed on the stage of off-Broadway's The Actors Playhouse, and that stage is minute. Consequently the camera is always tight on the performers. The male chorus, a modest six of them, are polished in both song and dance, with smart but limited choreography by Shea Sullivan. The tapping angels that open the show are terrific, and the voices blend beautifully.

     For such a low budget movie, filmed in only seventeen days, the technical aspects are really surprising. The direction of the dramatic scenes by Casper Andreas is natural and unobtrusive, while Fred M. Caruso handles the musical numbers with wit and style. Photography by Jon Fordham is smooth and efficient - no clever quirky little tricks. Some of the scenes filmed in actual bars are a little bright, but that is my only real complaint. The sound is clear and sharp, with every syllable of the lyrics as clear as a bell. The songs, credited to Rick Crom and Caruso, are generally amusing and clever, with a couple of tender ballads and that "BIG" number from Liz McCartney. Every vocal is performed with that primary element of American musical theatre - energy.

     My grandkids love Glee. I wish they were old enough for The Big Gay Musical so they could see where the screaming lip-synching "stars" of Glee totally miss the boat.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The video transfer of this financially modest movie is very pleasing. The 16x9 transfer is presented at the original ratio of 1.78:1.

     The transfer is very sharp and clear, with most of the photography in tight shots. The opening moments are in black and white, before the screen bursts into glorious colour. The palette is very bright and vivid, almost cartoonish in the on-stage sequences. The off-stage scenes are a little more muted, but still bright and attractive. Perhaps some of the bar and beat scenes are a little too bright, but this I would credit to the limitations of the budget. Artefacts are not an issue, and detail is good, although the close nature of most shots removes this as an issue. Close ups are extremely detailed, and skin tones are excellent - and at times there is lots of skin.

     The disc is a single layer disc.

     There are no subtitles.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     There are two audio streams; English Dolby Digital 2.0 encoded at 192 Kbps plus the audio commentary track.

     The front and centre dialogue was clear and every syllable perfectly easy to understand. There were no clicks, pops or dropouts and no sync problems.

     The musical score from Scott Starrett and the original songs by Rick Crom and Fred M. Caruso are all very punchily delivered by a small group of musicians. It's the quality of the human voice that is important here, and all vocals, as well as the dialogue, are produced with warmth and clarity.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     There is quite a pleasing bag of extras with this release, although there appears to be a major omission that was included on the United States release.

Audio Commentary

     This is a feature length commentary with the directors, Casper Andreas and Fred M. Caruso, the editor Alex Hammer and lead actor Daniel Robinson. It is a very chatty gab fest, with many personal recollections as the quartet watch the film run. Many financial restrictions are mentioned, plus the difficulty of juggling the availability of the cast. Most, if not all, were at the time in the cast of Broadway shows, such as Wicked, Hairspray, Mary Poppins and Chicago and their times in front of the camera had to be sandwiched between their major theatre commitments. The whole thing is likeable and friendly, if a bit repetitive and shallow. The talk rarely subsides, but on the rare occasions when it does you will note that the audio for the film itself is slightly out of sync.

Interview (8:14)

     Presented 1.78:1 and 16x9 enhanced, director Casper Andreas is interviewed by reporter from ImGay TV at the Tampa Gay Film Festival. The female interviewer is rather awkward, which is a pity as the director is very open and forthcoming. The festival is obviously folding its tent, as banners come crashing down in the background. Interesting information is given regarding the director and his work.

Behind the Scenes (6:42)

     Better than most "making of" offerings, with interviews and comments by the fresh cast and the filmmakers. Presented 1.78:1 and 16x9 enhanced.

Theatrical Trailer (2:04)

     Presented slightly narrower than the film itself, and 16x9 enhanced, the trailer is very good quality and well constructed.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     According to the back of the Region 1 cover slick, the American release includes as an extra : The Full musical : "Adam and Steve - Just the way God made'em!" including deleted scenes. On the surface this looks like an extra that would have been very nice to have on the local release. The Region 1 release also has English and Spanish subtitles.

     There is also a Blu-Ray release in the U.S.

Summary

     Although "big" in name only, for those on its wave length this little film has entertainment to spare. The show-within-a-show structure delivers two corny all-male backstage love stories, while the on stage sequences camp up Adam and Eve, sorry, "Steve" with catchy songs and a chorus of scantily clad dancing angels. The cast is attractive and talented, and the frank dialogue and situations pull only a few punches. It all leaves you with a smile on your face - and I mean that in the nicest way!

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Tuesday, February 08, 2011
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BLU RAY BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA55A950D1F : 55 inch LCD HD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

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