Released: Nov 01st, 1990
Running Time: 114
Director: Jerry Douglas
Company: All Worlds Video
Cast: Michael Parks, Lon Flexxe, Rick Donovan, Joey Stefano, Butch Taylor, Chris MacKenzie, Mike Henson, Sharon Kane
Critical Rating: AAAA 1/2
Genre: Gay and Bi
Boasting what may well be the best screenplay (by Douglas) in the 20-year history of gay adult features, direction that inspires everyone in the cast to memorable performances, and a soundtrack (by Lee Ward) that includes a title song worthy of independent release, this archetypal "coming out" story carries the viewer into the realm of myth, creating its own world out of the reality in which gay men live. Douglas has raised the adult feature boldly into the realm of cinematic art without sacrificing the sexual intensity that makes the genre unique.
From gay-bashing and internalized homophobia, to AIDS and politics, this story of a young construction worker (Stefano) grappling with the conflict between his Catholic upbringing and his sexuality leaves no aspect of urban gay life unexplored. Stefano gives a moving, totally persuasive performance, taking the viewer on a tour of the closeted psyche that no one is likely to forget. LaRue, in a show-stopping non-sexual performance, gives a flawless rendition of the title song and endows scene after scene with his larger-than-life vitality.
Douglas ties the wide-ranging story together with recurring metaphors that climax in the boldness of the final frame —a used condom lying beside a discarded crucifix. His conceptualization of symbolic lighting (dark in the church, harsh in the bus station men's room, romantic in the anniversary celebration, brilliant at the gay pride (parade) has rarely been equalled and never surpassed.
And herein lies the only rub: like Tough Guys Do Dance, More of a Man begs to be on film, where the technical effect would match the metaphoric intent. This production obviously involved a great deal of talent, time and hard work as well as a budget that by today's standards must have been astronomical; the payoff is a triumph for everyone involved and places All Worlds Video at the top of the prestige list for 1990. But if More of a Man had been shot on film instead of video tape, the payoff would have been perfection. A definite must for retailers who care about quality.