Author Topic: NEW FEST: 20th Anniversary NY LGB&T Film Festival: "Were the World Mine" (2008)  (Read 16825 times)

Offline southendmd

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Re: NEW FEST: The 20th Anniversary New York LGB&T Film Festival: Great Movies!
« Reply #20 on: November 20, 2008, 03:40:46 pm »
Here's a link to opening dates, cities and theatres for Were the World Mine:


http://speakproductions.com/WTWM_Theatrical_Dates.html



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Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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Re: NEW FEST: The 20th Anniversary New York LGB&T Film Festival: Great Movies!
« Reply #21 on: November 21, 2008, 11:15:09 pm »

I saw Were the World Mine--it's adorable! Sadly, the 7:00pm show tonight--with a Q&A with the director and actors--was sold out. But I did see the 5:00 show--it was winsome, it was luscious--just a treat! See it if you can!



http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/11/21/movies/21were.html?8dpc

Movie Review
Were the World Mine (2008)

NYT Critics' Pick
(This movie has been designated a Critic's Pick by the film reviewers of The Times.)



Tanner Cohen, right (I corrected the NYT's mistake here!), and Nathaniel David Becker in
“Were the World Mine,” inspired by “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

November 21, 2008
Puck’s Love Potion, Splashed Across Town

By STEPHEN HOLDEN
Published: November 21, 2008


What teenager hasn’t fantasized about wielding magic to transform an indifferent object of desire into a besotted lover? In “Were the World Mine,”  an indie alternative to Disney’s “High School Musical”   franchise, Timothy (Tanner Cohen), a persecuted gay student at a private boys’ school outside Chicago, acquires such magic while rehearsing the role of Puck in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

When a purple flower spurting Cupid’s love juice mysteriously springs up in Titania’s bower, Timothy plucks it and later tosses its liquid into the eyes of his secret crush, Jonathon (Nathaniel David Becker), the ostensibly straight star of the rugby team. Mutual puppy love is instantaneous and intense.

In Timothy/Puck’s prankish scheme, every helpless target of such magic falls madly in love with the first person in sight, inappropriate or not. And for the next 24 hours Timothy dashes around his small town making unsuspecting homophobes, including the rugby coach, fall ridiculously in love with dumbfounded members of the same sex; before long, the streets are crawling with cow-eyed, spooning gay couples.

This small, endearing film, directed by Tom Gustafson from a screenplay he wrote with Cory James Krueckeberg, has already won a number of awards, including outstanding narrative feature at Outfest, the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. In its giddiness, “Were the World Mine”  echoes “High School Musical 3”  right down to featuring balletic choreography on a basketball court.

With original music by Jessica Fogle, and lyrics (some original and others adapted from Shakespeare) by Mr. Krueckeberg, it is an enchanting, mildly subversive fantasia that reconciles sassy teenage argot with Elizabethan. One moment it is this, the next that. Ms. Fogle’s most striking music, especially the title song, sets Shakespearean dialogue in an ethereal Minimalist style that has the entranced intensity of centuries-old sacred music.

The movie doesn’t burst into song all that often. Some numbers are no more than clever asides, played on guitar and sung by Timothy’s sullen friend Frankie (Zelda Williams, daughter of Robin), a self-possessed tomboy who describes herself as “hetero-flexible.” Frankie morosely takes it in stride when Timothy experiments with the love juice on Max (Ricky Goldman), his best friend and her crush.

A subplot involves Timothy’s embattled relationship with his divorced mother, Donna (Judy McLane), who is having difficulty coming to terms with his sexuality. Donna takes a job as a door-to-door saleswoman for the cosmetics line invented by Nora (Jill Larson), the vain, bigoted wife of the school’s stuffy headmaster (David Darlow).

To some degree, Donna and Nora are John Waters-style female caricatures. So is the film’s mysteriously powerful guardian angel, Ms. Tebbit (Wendy Robie), the airy, arty English teacher who casts the Shakespeare production, oversees rehearsals and refuses to shut it down after the town goes erotically bonkers.

Ms. Robie, who bears a strong resemblance to Patricia Clarkson, plays the teacher as a benign sorceress who wears a secretive smile while using “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”  to impart some lessons in tolerance. In what is shown of the final production, the gawky high school boys playing both men’s and women’s roles have turned into graceful actors comfortable with Elizabethan English.

“Were the World Mine”  begins tentatively, but once its tone is established, its charm overcomes the inevitable weaknesses of a musical made on a stringent budget. Like its Disney counterparts, it operates on the assumption that the movie musical is a world unto itself in which ordinary rules of logic don’t apply. One thing doesn’t have to lead to another, and not everything need be explained. Movie-musical magic makes up the difference.

WERE THE WORLD MINE

Opens on Friday in New York, San Francisco and Berkeley, Calif.

Directed by Tom Gustafson; written by Cory James Krueckeberg and Mr. Gustafson; director of photography, Kira Kelly; edited by Jennifer Lilly; music by Jessica Fogle, adapted and original lyrics by Mr. Krueckeberg; choreography by Todd Underwood; production designer, Mr. Krueckeberg; produced by Mr. Gustafson, Mr. Krueckeberg and Peter Sterling; released by Speak Productions. In Manhattan at Cinema Village, 22 East 12th Street, Greenwich Village. Running time: 1 hour 36 minutes. This film is not rated.

WITH: Tanner Cohen (Timothy), Wendy Robie (Ms. Tebbit), Judy McLane (Donna), Zelda Williams (Frankie), Jill Larson (Nora Bellinger), Ricky Goldman (Max), David Darlow (Lawrence Bellinger) and Nathaniel David Becker (Jonathon).
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline southendmd

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Re: NEW FEST: The 20th Anniversary New York LGB&T Film Festival: Great Movies!
« Reply #22 on: November 22, 2008, 12:52:02 pm »
"Winsome and luscious"--you said it, John!

Thanks for the review, and I look forward to seeing it again when it comes to Boston in two weeks.
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Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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Re: NEW FEST: The 20th Anniversary New York LGB&T Film Festival: Great Movies!
« Reply #23 on: November 22, 2008, 03:55:09 pm »

"Winsome and luscious"--you said it, John!

Thanks for the review, and I look forward to seeing it again when it comes to Boston in two weeks.

Thanks for your continuing support re this terrific little film, Paul--it deserves it!

I must also add:

Cory James Krueckeberg: I had never heard of him before, and he is the (co-)writer, lyricist, one of the (co-)producers AND the production designer--wow, what a quadruple-threat! I have not seen such a playful, stylish, affectionately knowing, and gol-darned attractive film, visually, since Diva, high praise from me indeed!

Zelda Williams (as Frankie), Robin Williams's daughter: small part, but--that girl is going to be big. HUGE. I can feel it.

Tanner Cohen: good actor, beautiful voice, like a boy chorister. Sweet!

Nathaniel David Becker: not a brilliant actor or singer, tiny, but--WOOF! Mr. Krueckeberg, as production designer, knew what to do with Mr. Becker--took away his shirt! Yum!

There are so many films I want to see during the holidays--but I'll be seeing Were the World Mine again, for sure!
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline southendmd

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Re: NEW FEST: The 20th Anniversary New York LGB&T Film Festival: Great Movies!
« Reply #24 on: December 05, 2008, 10:08:46 pm »
Hey John, I just saw Were the World Mind again tonight, as it opened in Boston.

It's still winsome and luscious.  I liked it better the second time even.

I thought I caught something new:  there was a part where I thought Timothy was going to use the magic pansy to try to get his parents back together.  It looked to me as if they contemplated this (the split had been alluded to), but decided against it, as it would spoil the "gay thing".   

Anyway, the Midsummer Night's Dream thing was wonderful:  such an accessible play to high school students of any time. 

You're right, John, the production looked marvelous.

BTW, Mr. Gustafson and Mr. Kreuckenberg presented the film at the Provincetown film festival.  Boy, it's so hard to get these little indie gems shown.  Good luck to them. 
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Offline southendmd

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Re: NEW FEST: The 20th Anniversary New York LGB&T Film Festival: Great Movies!
« Reply #25 on: December 06, 2008, 10:53:44 pm »
Boston critics are so stereotypically harsh!  Here's the Globe's review:


'World' has a gay old time with Shakespeare
Ty Burr, Globe Staff

A cross between "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and a gay remake of "High School Musical"? Gentles, perchance you wonder at this show. Well, wonder on while we try to make heads or tails of the swoony, sweethearted train-wreck that is "Were the World Mine." There are times when it is safe to say that a labor of love is love's labor lost, and, reader, this is one of them.


WERE THE WORLD MINE
Directed by: Tom Gustafson

Written by: Gustafson and Cory James Krueckeberg

Starring: Tanner Cohen, Wendy Robie, Nathaniel David Becker, Judy McLane, Zelda Williams

At: Kendall Square

Running time: 95 minutes

Unrated (language, sexuality, gay rugby musical numbers)


The film is a feature-length outgrowth of the 2003 short "Fairies," written by Cory James Krueckeberg and filmed by Tom Gustafson, a Hollywood casting director making his bid to be a force in queer cinema. "Were the World Mine" is nothing if not ambitious. It's the execution that falters.

Set in a tony prep school, the film centers on Timothy (Tanner Cohen), a barely-closeted day student with the singing voice of an angel. Bullied in dodgeball and tolerated by his blue-collar mother (Judy McLane), Timothy pines for the school's king jock, Jonathan (Nathaniel David Becker), drifting into Busby Berkeley-style daydreams in which the two act out their love.

But soft - what plot device through yonder window breaks? The school's drama teacher (Wendy Robie), an enchantress of sorts herself, casts Timothy as Puck in an all-male version of "Midsummer Night's Dream," and in studying his lines he deciphers a hidden recipe for love-juice, just like the one in the Shakespeare play. No sooner has he wielded his passion flower (it's purple and it spurts) on the eyes of his classmates, then each falls for the first person he sees. Soon the entire rugby team is paired off, the coach has declared his love for the principal, and Timothy and Jonathan are officially an item.

What keeps "Were the World Mine" from soaring into the delirious forbidden zone to which it aspires isn't the filming, which is low-budget and clumsy but fully felt, especially in the musical numbers. The culprits, instead, are the script (the dialogue comes in two flavors: Shakespeare and halting), the characters (gay or straight, they're all two-dimensional) and the performances. The soap actress Jill Larson plays the principal's snooty wife as a strident homophobic cartoon; when someone who has survived two decades of "One Life to Live" can't breathe life into her lines, you know a film is in trouble.

Hollywood royalty alert: Robin Williams's daughter, Zelda Williams, plays the hero's best friend, an alt-guitarist type, and she's one of the few people here who seems visibly comfortable in front of a camera. Cohen does too, but only when he sings. A headlong fantasy of gay teen openness and independent filmmaking, "Were the World Mine" requires serious indulgence. You're forgiven if you choose to indulge it, though. Like the man said, "If we offend, it is with our good will."


http://www.boston.com/ae/movies/articles/2008/12/05/world_has_a_gay_old_time_with_shakespeare/
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Offline southendmd

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Re: NEW FEST: The 20th Anniversary New York LGB&T Film Festival: Great Movies!
« Reply #26 on: December 06, 2008, 11:02:07 pm »
Have you seen this, John?  The trailer for the short "Fairies" from 2003, the inspiration for "Were the World Mine".  Interestingly, also stars Wendy Robie, albeit with shorter hair.

[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvcOeRnMb5A[/youtube]
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Re: NEW FEST: The 20th Anniversary New York LGB&T Film Festival: Great Movies!
« Reply #27 on: December 06, 2008, 11:08:02 pm »
Dang! Sometimes I wish I could live where you are! But then I'd miss the splendor of the Rocky Mountains. What a choice!!
 :-\
May 2019 be better for us all.

Offline southendmd

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Re: NEW FEST: The 20th Anniversary New York LGB&T Film Festival: Great Movies!
« Reply #28 on: December 06, 2008, 11:44:55 pm »
Here's another review from the San Francisco Chronicle:

Movie review: 'Were the World Mine'
Reyhan Harmanci, Chronicle Staff Writer

Friday, November 21, 2008


Were the World Mine: Musical. Directed by Tom Gustafson. Starring Tanner Cohen and Wendy Robie. (Not rated. 95 minutes. At the Opera Plaza in San Francisco and the Shattuck in Berkeley. )
 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The phenomenon of teen musicals - beloved by actual teens - is a little perplexing. There is just nothing ... cool ... about breaking into song and dance routines in daily life. Disney's "High School Musical" juggernaut and the popularity of the stage show and film version of "Hairspray" have brought more attention to the teen-centered Broadway hit "Spring Awakening," which will be made into a film as well.

"Were the World Mine" follows the teen musical formula but renders its material with admirable lushness and intelligence. It was a hit as an indie short film on the film festival circuit before director and writer Tom Gustafson turned it into a full-length musical, so irony and self-referral humor are written into its DNA.

"Were the World Mine" tells the story of out gay teenager Timothy (Tanner Cohen), who is attending a boys' private school. He is hazed repeatedly and ruthlessly by his homophobic classmates, but he survives by escaping into fantasy (here come the musical sequences) - mostly, fantasizing about the extremely cute Jonathon (Nathaniel David Becker). He also has to deal with his struggling mother (Judy McLane) and friends Frankie (Zelda Williams, daughter of Robin) and Max (Ricky Goldman).

Life changes abruptly for Timothy when, after being cast as Puck in the school production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" by his slightly batty drama teacher (played by "Twin Peaks" actress Wendy Robie), he finds a secret recipe embedded in Shakespeare's famous farce. Timothy, like Puck, has the ability to make people fall in love with the first person they see. Should he use it?

Well, it wouldn't be much of a movie if he didn't. As the action unfolds, with dazzling color and crisp choreography, the homophobic boys get the lesson of their lives.

The weakest part of the movie, besides some rather drawn-out plot machinations, is the musical aspect. The tunes just aren't catchy enough to linger or clever enough to stand in for dialogue. It's a welcome addition to the cavalcade of teen-focused musicals, but like a midsummer night's dream, can hardly be remembered the next day.

-- Advisory: Boys kiss boys often in this film, but nothing truly shocking.

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Offline Artiste

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Re: NEW FEST: The 20th Anniversary New York LGB&T Film Festival: Great Movies!
« Reply #29 on: December 06, 2008, 11:51:41 pm »
Merci beaucoup:

Let's make the world ours: gay for all humans !![/b]