26 May 2001 | budmassey
A carnival of Angelean queer decadence.
This is another one of those "discovered by accident while channel surfing" movies that I am always grateful to have found. Before the movie was over, I was online buying the DVD. O'Haver must have summoned all his Indy Film clout to muster the likes of Paul Ganoung, Meredith Scott Lynn and the fabulous Paul Bartel to lend their talents both on and off the camera, but the coup of coups was casting Sean Hayes.
Hayes is superb as Billy, a struggling gay photographer yearning for love. He falls for Gabriel (Brad Rowe) who may or may not be gay. The rest of the film dances around the inevitable question and let's just say that things have a way of working out for the best, albeit differently from what we often expect.
Actor, writer, director and absolute gay icon Paul Bartel, who unfortunately passed away a couple of years after Screen Kiss, is deliciously unctuous as a would be mentor. Brad Rowe is passable, if a little lightweight, and benefits immeasurably from his co-star. Sean Hayes, even before the runaway success of Will and Grace, demonstrates the comedic genius that steals almost every scene. Spliced throughout the movie are several numbers by Mr. Dan, a notable drag artist and promoter from L.A., and as Petula Clark he helps generate the sheer joy of watching this movie.
If you remember Lou Reed's classic "Take a Walk on the Wild Side" you may enjoy watching Holly Woodlawn ("Holly came from Miami F-L-A" - yes THAT Holly) as the party hostess.
The DVD commentary is worthwhile, and offers an inside view of the resourcefulness it takes to make a good indie film. It does not detract from the importance of BHSK that it is not an original film. O'Haver had been toying with the basic story idea since his earlier Catalina, but in BHSK the story is more fully developed and humorous. Touching, moving, gentle and risqué, an uplifting and life-affirming message wrapped in a carnival of Angelean queer decadence.