Tonight I watched 3-Day Weekend again. I saw it for the first time several months ago but didn’t blog about it for some reason — probably too busy. I recently bought a copy, and tonight I finally got around to watching it again.

It’s about two gay couples, one of which owns a cabin (though it’s misleading to call it a “cabin” — it’s more a vacation home) in the country. Each man invites one single friend to join the two couples for a long weekend there. As one couple comes together over the weekend, another one falls apart. Here’s the trailer:

Douglas Myers plays Jason, the owner of the cabin. He and Simon, played by Derek Meeker, have been together for several years. We learn very early in the film that they are having trouble, since we know that Simon has invited the escort he’s been sleeping, Andre, played by Daniel Rhyder, with as his single friend for the weekend. Jason, on the other hand, invites a semi-closeted  coworker.

Derek Long and Stephen Twardokus play Cooper and Ace, the other couple. They’ve only been together for a year and are in an age-disparate relationship: Cooper is much older than Ace, who is only in his mid-twenties. Cooper invites his yoga instructor and Ace invites a college friend along for the weekend.

One of the things I like about this movie is how it fits into a trajectory that begins with The Boys in the Band (1970) and goes through Love! Valour! Compassion! (1997), both of which started off as stage plays. All three movies bring a group of friends (and strangers) together to explore the state/status of being a gay man in their respective time period. Where Boys addressed issues of being closeted and too gay and self-loathing, Love explored AIDS and what it meant for the gay community. Weekend looks at relationships, marriage, aging, and monogamy. The three films together offer an interesting history of gayness since 1969.

The first time I saw this movie, I think I was most focused on the four single men. They provide most of the comic elements in the film, so maybe that’s why I was drawn to them. This time, however, my attention focused on the two central couples. I really liked the way Jason and Simon were depicted. Their marital discord was realistically handled, I think. In very little time, we see their problems and how they’re dealing with them. These problems are real life ones — not the usual stupid issues of drug addiction or level of outness we often see in gay indies. I think the movie does an interesting job of presenting each of their points of view too. The first time I saw it, I think I sided with just one character in their disputes. This time, I saw that their issues are pretty fairly balanced. I liked that.

Derek Long always stands out to me in whatever film I seem him in. He’s a good actor, and he’s totally hot in a daddy sort of way. I think he draws on that perception of him well in this movie, using it to establish Cooper as protective, sensitive, and little weary. I also couldn’t help but be reminded of my friend James and his partner of one year, who are similarly aged to Cooper and Ace. I wondered if they have had similar conversations about their pasts, present, and future. In this light, these characters also seem generally realistic.

What isn’t realistic about the film is its dialog, which is simply atrocious in some places. Too often the actors comes across as if they’re reading stilted lines from a performance of Hamlet rather than acting in a more-or-less lightweight gay dramedy. Twardokus and Gaetano Jones, who plays the yoga instructor, are the most guilty of this. At least Jones could argue that his character is supposed to sound spacey. Twardokus makes Ace much too earnest and prone to the worst kind of philosophizing.

I was also a little irritated by the occasional attempt to have a character be naked but not show his junk. Long and Jones both go the full monty, but three of the other characters do anything they can — including sit in a bizarrely uncomfortable fashion — to avoid showing their dicks. There’s also a moment in the film when the director, Rob Williams, plays with the shot to avoid showing dick. This just seems silly to me. It distracts from the realism of the film. I would have preferred for the movie to either be less self-conscious about the nudity or just not put the characters in situations where they are nude.

Even with this bad dialog and the nudity issue, I really liked this movie. I wish I had a gay friend who had a summer home that a bunch of gays would spend a few days at every now and then!

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