1. Dale says

    Excellent … This needs to be a full length movie. It’s shows what teens deal with on a daily basis. It reveals the situations that some teens find themselves in and a time to make a decision. Sometimes it’s the right decision, sometimes it’s the wrong decision and someone gets beat.

  2. denison says

    Wow… this is pretty horrible. Great intentions, awful acting, miserable writing, terrible ending. Cringeworthy! This deserves a mini-razzie.

  3. wds says

    @denison ~ Wow! It must be very difficult for you to live in such an imperfect world!

    This was a touching, really good short. I don’t agree that it needs to be a full length film – sometimes something as compact as this works better.

  4. says

    execution suffers from the usual Schumacher-isms, but the heart is in the right place.
    and it touches on something that i think many of us will remember: the guy we knew in high school was also “family” who chose, instead, anti-gay peers.

    i remember two of those boys from my high school years. every day digging themselves deeper. it’s one thing to be born into an anti-gay family, it’s another entirely to seek out and choose anti-gay people to be your friends. and then their dilemma: “how do i come out to my friends? they’re all anti-gay”

    hopefully this situation will be less and less common: i’m a white guy, doesn’t mean i’m going to befriend racists. the more LGBT people are understood and accepted, the more straight people are going to be intolerant of anti-gay prejudice in others, and then hopefully we’ll have fewer closeted people adopting an anti-gay attitude as part of their disguise.

    actually, looking at this short film makes me think about what drove a great number of prominent anti-gay conservative politicians to their current hypocritical lives.

    you show me a grown adult who is proud of their anti-gay stances, and i’ll show you a boy who was caught giving b.j’s in his youth.

  5. denison says

    “Wow! It must be very difficult for you to live in such an imperfect world”

    Oh, unclench your pearls. Like you’ve never found the acting or dialogue of a film or tv show to be absolutely horrible? I fully expected this to be a touching little film and was simply blown away by the wooden, fake performances and cliched 60-year old white guy ‘street’ dialogue. Though it was awful (though not as bad as his Batman atrocities), but I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  6. says

    Yeah, it should be a full lengtgh movie. I’d like to see them hook up as a popular couple, be accepted by all the jock and students and end with the promise of a future, maybe a marriage proposal. That would be cool.

  7. bandanajack says

    i am stunned by the blanket negative comment of denison, yet another name i’ve not seen in previous comments, when i’ve seem much worse acting in major productions. i also thought it was well and believably cast. it gets even better when viewed as school curriculum. i’d love to see a middle or high school class process this, deciding how it should end. it gets even more interesting if you compare reactions from country to country and from other demographic populations.

    excellent work from top to bottom.

  8. denison says

    “i am stunned by the blanket negative comment of denison”

    That’s completely asinine. This is the internet. If someone finds the acting or dialogue of a film to be horrible, it’s completely within the bounds of decency to say so. Great intentions, nice idea, HORRIBLE execution and acting from every cast member and embarrassing dialogue – though yes, I have technically seen worse, too.

    I didn’t mention the ridiculousness of such a hot guy being with a whiny, unattractive little twink because that would just be tacky. The awful production quality is completely within the realm of discussion, though, and folks saying this should be a full-length film need to give me a little of what they’re smoking.

    * PS I’ve been commenting on here for years, “top” to “bottom”

  9. solice says

    Watch out, Denison. If you dare to have an opinion different from the crowd, the Comment Police will come and get you.

  10. says

    calm down, sugars.

    think in the context of how this film could impact YOUTH, rather than your own adult sensibilities about “filmmaking”.



  11. denison says

    “think in the context of how this film could impact YOUTH,”

    I’m thinking many would feel it was cheesy and condescending, but I’m sure opinion would vary. The film doesn’t even show the “jock’s” reaction to his choice – kind of cowardly, no?

    Hey though, let’s have more 60-something white guys write “ghetto talk” vignettes and high school drama, that’s just what kids needs these days.

  12. says

    or you could make your own video and post it online for all to see, since you clearly could do a better job, denison.

    you can even make a simple youtube video highlighting these issues in a way you feel would be more impactful.

    up for it? or are you just here to tell others about the Bad Job they’re doing with no intention of doing anything yourself?

    the beauty of the world wide web – rather than just criticizing, you have the perfect medium to show, via example, how to Do Things Properly.

    i eagerly await your VIDEO response, denison.

  13. sara says

    I kind of liked that it was not slick & polished & that not all the kids were model perfect. It captured that awkwardness of teenagers. I think we watch so much perfect beautiful teenagers (played by 20 & 30 somethings) that we think this is what teens or not. It’s not.

    For those who bothered to read the small blurb above, the story was written by a young woman when she was in high school, not a 60 year old. And she probably knows a little more about being a Puerto Rican teenager than some commenters.

    Also I think the audience is probably for young people who may say it’s corny, creeky but some of what the film is saying will sink in. so I rate it a nice try. And for those complaining, it’s only 15 minutes of your life so you may want to just get over it.

  14. sara says

    Correction: so many typos. Meant to say teens don’t really look like that guy from 90210 so get some perspective.

  15. uffda says

    Or DENISON, you could do like KIWI and instead of producing your own work, like a play, film or book, just keep posting and posting and posting your uber-developed opinions, sarcastic spittle and immature insults in the belief that you are creating a body of work.

  16. denison says

    “or you could make your own video and post it online for all to see, since you clearly could do a better job, denison.”

    Seriously, are you kidding me? Would you say that to ANYone who criticized a film, show, or piece of music, or just someone who insults this particular short because of the way the horny jock character stirs “those” feelings in your loins?

    Welcome to 2012. People are free to comment on art without being soaked by drama spittle or expected to produce their own (this should be obvious). Folks are also free to “complain” about quality and authenticity, and if that genuinely upsets you, cancel your Comcast subscription. I am from New York and fully familiar with the language and mannerisms supposedly depicted, and it just rings false. Sorry for the hurt.

  17. says

    you also kept insisting that it was written by a 60 year old white man.

    it wasn’t. it was written by a young lass from the bronx.

    so forgive me for thinking that your powers of perception are as weak as your reading skills.

    but still, if you think you could produce a better video for youth i encourage you to do so.

  18. denison says

    you have a point, it was not actually written by him but only directed and produced… and if a famed director decides to tackle this material and it ends up coming across as very clumsy and stilted, it’s fair to mention it. kudos to this girl for getting the Batman and Robin treatment and a solid B+ for effort, D- for execution.

    I hated a few songs this year too but I’m not about to go and put myself on YouTube for that reason. this is why we have semi-anonymous discussion forums 😉

  19. Erik says

    Well, I’m with Denison on this.

    But, the film and its creators have their hearts in the right place, no doubt about that.

    But, it does suffer from subpar writing and acting that make it feel less authentic and more like a lesson.

    Material like this will always inherently be a lesson in tolerance, and that’s good. You just don’t need to underline, bold and italicize it all the time. There is room for subtlety and originality, two things this film sorely lacks.

    Still, as I said, its heart is in the right place and if it does more good than bad in the long run then that’s a good thing. I just always hope and want more from my gay-themed films than what we often get.

  20. gb says

    I liked the storyline idea,I say do a story with a active NBA or NFL player of today in the same situation that would be interesting…

  21. Amari says

    Wow, the comments here are interesting. It doesn’t seem like this audience actually read the part where it says the writer, “Treviny Marie Colon, who hails from the Bronx, New York, wrote Man in the Mirror while she was a senior at The High School of Fashion Industries in Manhattan”

    Though it’s clearly not the writing you’d expect from a professional, I think it’s decent writing for a high school student.

    I also think students would definitely watch it considering the subject matter. I’m not too far removed from the high school population as I’m a college student myself and also work with younger students.

  22. Fenrox says

    These comments are fantastic! God, I love how reactionary and stupid so many of you are. I mean you jump over Denison because he didn’t like the movie! Fantastic use of ironic bullying.

    It’s really refreshing to realize that the group of people you are “a part of” are just as horrible and totally stupid as people from all groups.

  23. Zlick says

    Gays are part of every group in human history. So yeah, they can be stupid, smart, wise, heartless, honest, brutal, violent, deceptive, peaceful and every other thing. Oh, and they can hate on other oppressed peoples just as other oppressed peoples have been hating on yet other oppressed peoples since the first tadpole to crawl from the sea was oppressed by the second.

    I liked the short. It’s a high school writer’s work about high schoolers. I’m not going to demean the lack of big budget production values or perfect casting from the Broadway talent pool. And I believe the black-out leaving the ultimate “choice” a mystery is pretty much the entire point of the piece.

  24. says

    I’m going to defend Denison here, at least in part. He should be able to criticize without being told that if he can do a better job, to go out and do it. That’s just as bad as not very enlightened criticism. To paraphrase Samuel Johnson, you don’t have to be a tablemaker to complain if someone makes a bad table — it’s not your job to make them after all. Denison’s overreaction aside, telling him to go make a video is a ridiculous response.

  25. says

    An excellent short movie……..I enjoyed it.
    makes me grateful that I never went to school in USA.
    The negative comments here are pathetic, pathetic.

  26. GregV says

    I enjoyed watching it and thought it was pretty well-done.
    My only concern is that teen viewers watching this really need to see some role models of supportive and accepting straight males.
    In this short, it would seem that all truly straight males are violently anti-gay and the openly gay student’s only “straight” male supporter is not really straight.
    In real life, it tends to be the opposite. The kid who is hiding something he hates is the one who lashes out and the one who is comfortable and confident in the fact he’s straight doesn’t mind that someone else is gay.
    I’d like to have seen at least one straight male role model who is a decent person.

  27. Michael says

    Lessons learned by watching this…

    If you are an out gay man you are a total queen.

    Bisexuality does not exist.

    There isn’t one straight man who is ok with people being gay.

    Beating up a gay guy is the only way to show you’re not gay.

    And this was just in ten minutes. Don’t get me wrong, its fantastic a kid basically made this but if I was a gay teen struggling with my sexuality this would only make things worse.

  28. Leonard says

    Great short! The acting wasn’t the best overall (the “coming out” talk between the little sister and older brother had some cringeworthy moments), but the story and acting of the main character overcame that setback.

    It was a nice little short and I don’t know why people are overreacting. If you didn’t like it fine. To go on and complain multiple times in this thread as if you paid to watch it or were forced to watch it is ridiculous.

  29. says

    as an almost 60 year old white guy, just want you to know the race-ageist talk here is what i have come to love and enjoy about Towleroad. It makes me glad I am not a confused closed-minded young sheeple, especially a gay one, because that slaughter is going to be vicious when it comes, lambies.

    Not only are the comments wooden and predictable (you can get wood out of Towleroad), but short sighted too.

    This is a pretentious film trading on its outre’ subject matter to gain respectability. It is west side story without the music and dancing and was written by students i believe, read the credits, girlies, am i wrong? But it would not get a bare not without a gay kiss and certainly no mention if it was heterosexual and twisted in some way, even with full nudal frontity. Soooo. Joel is cool, iked the batman extravaganzas, but it looked like it was done as a favor without taking it too too seriously by some. Maybe a lackluster bare bones crew or what not. Ej is cute tho.

  30. Hue-Man says

    I’ve changed my tune since Xavier Dolan’s movies were released – J’ai tue ma mere (I Killed my Mother) and Les amours imaginaires (Heartbeats) – the first when he was 19 or 20. Teens and twentysomethings write about their world, their culture, and their experiences. It’s unfair to them and to their development, to criticize the results of their initial efforts as if they were 40-somethings. When you look at the gory schlock that many 40-somethings are producing, young people are entitled to our encouragement and support in their story-telling – heaven knows there are enough people around to point out their short-comings. (And far-right haters to prevent their voices from being heard at all.)

    Chalk up a win for all the young people in front of and behind the camera – the short got produced and, by the looks of it, has been seen by more people than 99% of the short films made by other teens!

  31. Slice says

    Denison sounds like a ghetto thug. Denison, talking about “street” talk…stop acting street. Just because you’re from the ghetto doesn’t mean you have to ACT ghetto. I’ll take the cute twink over the dirty looking Dominican actor btw. Denison, go back to acting like a hood rat.

  32. sara says

    To get such strong reactions, the filmmakers must have done something right.

    Keep in mind, amateur Roger Eberts, this film is a high school project & it’s made by teenagers for other teenagers. So 60 year old, you’re not the target audience.

    From ShowBizCafe: “USA’s REAL DEAL program, an educational initiative that facilitates a unique partnership between teenage writers and distinguished film directors to produce short films. Nearly 7,000 students participated in the eighth installment of the REAL DEAL curriculum and national writing contest…”

    I think kids like this deserve to be encouraged not slapped down like they’re multimillion dollar spoiled child stars. They’re at least making an effort to change perceptions.

  33. Gayermo says

    Awesome film! As a gay Latino who grew up in East LA, I thought the dialogue was believable and I really felt for the characters, the main character especially, since I was almost him in high school, though not as big a jock (only track and cross country). And maybe I connected even more with him since I was totally crushing on a nerdy white guy back then.

    Ah, I wish this was a series, I would totally love to watch more.

  34. lookyloo says

    Yikes. This film is bad.

    The staging and timing are horrendous – and, aside from the lead kid and a couple smaller parts, the acting is just really bad.

    These are all the fault of the director.

    This thing comes off as super amateur yet it’s directed by Joel Schumacher? What a letdown. If I were the writer I’d be pissed.

  35. antisaint says

    It’d be like if Joel Schumacher directed a high school performance of “Our Town” and people criticized the acting as being amateurish. It’s still high school kids, it won’t be perfect, and I don’t think anyone’s trying to win any awards.

    I thought the dialogue was believable. I’m not from New York, so dunno what exactly constitutes good, “non-white ghetto,” but I’ve heard people speak this way. I’d be willing to wager the kids in the film are from New York themselves.

    (And as an aside, Halle Berry SUCKS at it, so if you’ve enjoyed her “ghetto” performances, I can’t rely on your opinions.)

    @Michael – When I went to high school (c/o 2000), the only out gay men were effeminate, and the only out bisexuals were girls. I don’t know if that’s changed any, but just the same all of that misses the message.

    This short dealt specifically with the main guy and his circle of friends. I’m sure there were people in the school who would’ve stood up, but we don’t see them presented in the short. Surely the boys beating Eric up at the end didn’t comprise the entire team, it was just a small handful of guys who were his friends.

    The short in a whole is aimed at, and told from the perspective of the gay kid who is “on enemy lines,” so to speak. It’s one thing to realize you’re gay, it’s another to realize you’re gay when you have friends who behave the way his friends do. That’s the predicament.

  36. pdxblueyes says

    Wow, comments are pretty across the board. But, what about the message? your snarky digs on the editing and story are unnecessary, but the message? what does it say? did it resonate with you? Stop being such a SNOB, and look past the ends of your noses. Will this speak to a kid? I hope so. Will it make a difference to ONE person? I hope so. THAT’S what matters -all the negative comments make the “bitchy queen” assumption too too true for those on the outside looking in.

  37. says

    To whoever said that was horrible…. wow. What a b*#$#tchy comment.

    It was fantastic, the lead actor was great (seriously, I hope he has an agent…) and the directing was surprisingly good from the person who made Batman Forever… LOL.

    They had great locations, it looked very professional, and it’s dramatic scenes were very believable — which is as great a compliment as can be paid to any writer.

    I so expected it to be terrible, but it was anything but. I can’t believe anyone would have bashed this.

  38. says



    Did you miss the part where a youth from NYC WROTE the script — not some 60 year old white guy as you indicated. Yeah, you missed that? Reading comprehension fail, as it was in the 2 paragraph long freaking towleroad blurb.

  39. Gabe R L says

    THis movie has good and bad.

    The story is well-written and well-intentioned. Unfortunately, most of the performances were bad, with the exception of E.J. Bonilla, Ben Newell, and the girl who played the sister, and the guy who played the cousin. It also felt real (the story). It was also realistic in portraying the physical appearances of male teens. The only ones of the guys that were ‘hot’ were E.J. and Ben. And I have to say that a lot of hot straight-seeming jock types that may be gay or bi crush on cute nerdy types. Those are typically the guys that they date if they are not dating some straight-seeming hot jock type like themselves. I did wonder why the possibility of the main character being bi or just having a little fun wasn’t left open. And he did seem to be more emotionally attached to the girlfriend. Those are realistic possibilities. One last thing: typically at the middle and high school age the straight guy who defends gay guys is gay or at least bi if he is hot to look at. That has been my experience. It is only when he is not hot that he is most likely straight. And most of the guys saying nasty things about gay guys are not gay, especially if they are not hot. Sorry if that statement offends, but that has been my experience.

  40. Gabe R L says

    And I would like to add that the hotness of the guy in both cases is especially applicable if they keep their looks past the adolescence and maybe post-adolescence.

  41. says

    We’re thrilled our film has sparked off this dialogue, especially on behalf of the young person who wrote the script! It looks like it has a good shot at winning, so please click that “like” button! Thanks!!!

  42. says

    Thank you to Towleroad and their community for bringing attention to our film.
    Scenarios USA’s mission is to give young people the reins to define the conversation on the issues in their lives. This film may make you feel proud or angry or make you think differently about LGBTQ bullying – but it clearly makes you think and talk. Keep it coming – we’re learning a lot!

    [my name is David, I work for Scenarios USA]

  43. Donny says

    The lead actor gave a perfectly fine performance. In fact, all the males with the exception of the gay cousin were pretty good. The worst acting came from the sister and the girlfriend.

    As for the writing, well, it was written by a student. Someone very young. We shouldn’t expect Oscar worthy material.

    It wasn’t great. It wasn’t awful. Ultimately, it has a great message. Isn’t that what matters?

  44. Gabe R L says

    I agree with what Donny said. So much so that I have to change a couple of my earlier pronouncements. All the guys were good, especially the lead, except the one playing the gay cousin, and the performances of both the sister and the girlfriend were terrible.