Saturday, July 14, 2012

Joshua Tree, 1951: A Portrait of James Dean (2012)

Directed by: Matthew Mishory

Starring: James Preston, Dan Glenn, Dalilah Rain

The Main Review: Joshua Tree, 1951, is a very recent film from this past year. Today, it premiered at multiple lgbt film festivals, including Damn These Heels! - where I had the opportunity to view it. Joshua Tree is a film supposed to follow part of the life of James Dean and his bisexuality. It's shot in black-and-white and very stylized. The actor who plays James Dean is gorgeous, of course. He is shown with a woman once in the film but seems to have a good amount of sex with other men.
Scratch that. He has a lot of sex with other men. 

The movie is nonlinear. The best I can piece together is that Dean and his unnamed actor roommate move in together and then Dean gets involved with Roger, the gay movie agent. At least, I'm pretty sure he's some sort of agent. James Dean has some fun-to-watch gay sex - if gay sex is your cup of tea - and seems to express at least mild interest in a few girls. Later on, Dean and his roommate go off into the desert, with Violet, who works for Roger.

Because of it's non-linearity, there are many flashbacks. We are shown the Roommate and Dean's acting classes at UCLA. Roger and Dean's relationship is sort of gone into. Also, The Little Prince seems to be very important and regarded as the most important literature a man can read.

Here's Where It Get Spoilerific: Honestly, this film doesn't really lend itself to spoilers. I mean, Dean is sleeping with his roommate (as well as every other able bodied man shown in this film, it seems, so it's not surprising). He's at least macking the calf with Violet, and it seems Roommate and Violet have something going on as well.

And, really, don't we all know how the story of James Dean ends? It really is a tale too short. 

Scenes To Watch Out For: Most of the scenes with the Roommate and James Dean - especially right before Dean goes off to New York. It's quite touching, really.
James Dean explaining "passive" and "aggressive" to a young man he met at the beach.

"I Fall In Love Too Easily" being sung in a nightclub.

Anything Else: I'll be completely honest - I know basically nothing about James Dean. I think I can name the movies he was in on a good day. So, I'm a little unsure about where and how often this film takes some artistic licence with what we actually know about James Dean. I - and the people who attended the film with me - were under the impression that James Dean was a little more heterosexual than what was presented in the film. As I said, though, I know very little about him.

Also, if you see this film and see something in my review is off, I'm sorry - but this film was kinda confusing! I don't know if it's just me, but I had a hard time following some of it. It was very... artistic.

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