Thursday, October 5

Harry + Max Review

I recently saw Christopher Münch 's 2004 film Harry and Max about two brothers and has been pegged as 'the movie where the two brothers blow each other' which the people involved feel its unfair in the DVD commentary. Harry (Popular and Undressed's Bryce Johnson) is a soon to be washed up boy band member who doesn't really have any musical talent and he has moved on from their overbarring mother. Max (Cole Williams who was in North Country, 8 Simple Rules, Zoey 101 and Drake and Josh) is his younger brother who is just starting his solo career and experiencing the game. The two go out to the mountains to spend quality time together because they hadn't until recently. Max has been feeling abandoned from his big brother and has been recently hanging out with Harry's ex-girlfriend Niki (the mystical Rain Phoenix).

While up in the mountains, Max brings something up that happened between the two brothers two summers ago in the Bahamas. Harry pulls away a bit and the details of what happen in Bahamas is not fully explained. The movie is not visual with the sex at all, the most that is shown is them kissing and implied oral sex, implied petting and Bryce Johnson's firm smooth naked butt but that's all. This movie is actually sweet and touching! Basically, Max makes his move on Harry and tells him he wanted him since he was seven. What I take from this is that a morally foggy brotherhood relationships and adolescent budding sexuality and confusion. Harry tries to resist but after the trip, he wants to engage in the relationship. Max is openly gay and had a relationship with his Yoga teacher Josiah who broke the relationship and left the school. Harry has a neglectful girlfriend who doesn't pay him any attention and throughout the movie he is looking for affection.

After the trip, Max and Harry go to their brother's exs in what could be explained as them trying to get to know each other better. Harry visits Josiah and wants to be 'straighten out' and that scene is uncomfortable because Harry is manipulative and this actions are a bit cartoonish. (Harry even wears a large cross around his neck during all of this.) Bryce Johnson brings a powerful performance throughout the movie though. A complex palette of darkness, loneliness, devotion, and sexual ambiguity. Johnson is completely dedicated to the character. Max visits Niki and they have sex, Nikki not feeling great about it. Harry goes to Niki trying to reignite their relationship but Niki doesn't want anything to do with it. The scenes that you cringe more is that the incest but the scenes where Harry makes things worst. (Where I feel he turned into the 'villain' but he is just misunderstood and could had been handled better.) Nikki is the one that is the voice of reason and wakes up Harry that he is involved in incest but you are not willing to listen to her since she just slept with Max.

The plot falls out and the characters are hanging by a string. I like the movie, even though he haunted me for a while. It wasn't so much the incest but how the movie was handled. Some critics have said how the movie make it seem that what they did was normal and everything is alright and was concerned that they used bright lighting instead of dark lighting. The movie isn't devote of dark lighting but the bright lighting is actually refreshing. But one thing I do agree with that critic is that the teen idol aspect distracts from the story. The director says he picked it because it was like a sexy milieu. Harry and Max are defiantly a great characters and the dialogue is super enjoyable. Cole Williams has long hair in this movie and does indeed look like a girl but looks good. In fact, if you look at the pictures in his IMDB he looks very young but he is 25. In the end, Williams even looks like Leo DiCaprio (during the Gangs of New York) and that look doesn't look that great.

Mentioned in the commentary, Max's boyfriend three years later Jordan played by Justin Zachary is or was Williams' boyfriend. I didn't understand if he was still with him or not. Williams also played a bisexual in Race You to the Bottom along with Amber Benson (my favorite Buffy character Tara). As for River Phoenix's acting, she is all mystical and wise but unfortunately her acting prowess is limited. In the end of the movie, it is sort of has a 'coda' in which Max wraps everything up in a voice over and says everything is okay. But it just doesn't feel well. As for the two main characters, the brothers, they have a complicated relationship and hopefully they can move on from it. Anyway, if this way movie sounds interesting to you, check it out.