PJ and I just finished watching Boy Culture, a movie about “X,” a gay prostitute in love with one of his roommates. Here’s the trailer:

The movie stars Derek Magyar as X. X is very successful in his work. He’s twenty-five, ruggedly handsome, and very good at his job. While he limits the number of his clientele to just twelve men, they pay him well. For tax purposes, he has taken on two roommates. The youngest is Joey, played by Jonathon Trent, an eighteen-year-old partier who, though he takes full advantage of his youthful attractiveness, still can’t seduce the man he wants most, X.

Andrew, played by Darryl Stephens, is the other roommate. As X relates early in the film, the movie is really all about Andrew. X is in love with him but is too afraid of rejection to fully open himself to the possibility of love. Hence, the plot of the film: Will X and Andrew overcome their differences and get together or will their respective issues stand in their way?

Boy Culture is based on a novel of the same name by Matthew Rettenmund. I read the novel last year and really liked it. In fact, I had thought seriously about teaching it in my Lesbian & Gay Literature class this past time (but ended up teaching Hard by Wayne Hoffman instead).

What I like most about the novel, however, is what’s missing from the movie. Rettenmund’s book avoids sentimentality even while telling a love story. It also contains quite a bit of sex, much of it somewhat graphically related. The movie, however, revels in sentimentality — surprisingly so for a film about a hustler. It also pretty much avoids sex — except for a comic montage of X’s clients, a little shirtlessness every now and then, and lots of talk about sex, the movie is down right staid compared to something like Queer as Folk (British or American version) or Dante’s Cove.

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