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One Night Stands
Reviewed by Sid Mitchell
Published in AVN July 1991
Category:
Gay and Bi
Content Rating:
AAAA 1/2
Company:
Filmco
Length:
85 Min.
Director:
Daniel Alan
Available Formats:
VHS
Cast:
Tom Steele, Jason Ross, Ricky Skater, Ryan Conners, Scott Jordan, Craig Willington.
Review: Dan Alan's One Night Stands is unique in the recent history of gay video, achieving the most elusive goal of all: classical tragedy. No, it's not Oedipus Rex or King Lear, but it's something just as rare: an adult title that offers its own tragic vision of human sexuality, from monogamous romance to destructive self-denial. In fact, this is one of the most complex, moral adult features you're likely to see. Alan proves, once and for all, that morality and explicit sexuality are natural companions, not antagonists.

One Night Stands also boasts one of the finest performances by an X-rated actor in recent memory. Here's proof positive that Jason Ross has the stuff of greatness. His performance as Joey, the guitarist who hides his sexuality behind the abuse of IV drugs, gives the tape its classical dimension, for when he dies of an overdose, we experience the moral and emotional catharsis that defines tragedy. As for staying in character during the sexual action, Ross writes the textbook that every adult actor should study; his sudden changes from denial to obvious pleasure reveal the self-hatred that underlies his addiction.

The plot as a whole-intentionally episodic rather than linear-focuses on the five members of a country-western band who travel from town to town in a series of one night stands. We see and hear them in concert (with original music written and performed by David Burrill), and we see them in their private lives, coping with the problems of life on the road. Two of the band members (Jordan and Skater) live out the title of the video in literal terms, jumping from one partner to the next. One (Steel) attempts to maintain a monogamous relationship, mainly by telephone, and one (Burrill) sublimates his sexuality into caring for his drug-related brother (Ross).

Steele has never been as impressive, while Burrill's non-sexual performance is genuinely memorable in spite of an occasional tendency to overact. And the four songs he writes for the band are his best achievement to date, especially the title song and "You Don't Love Me Any More."

The video's major flaw is the underdevelopment of Jordan's major character —we simply do not learn enough about him to identify with his dilemma. And that's why One Night Stands doesn't earn the elusive five-A rating that in theory it deserves. Packaging was unavailable at press time, but the erotic One Night Stands would be worth stocking if it came in a plain brown wrapper.

 
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