Bag Boy Lover Boy (2014)
Editor’s Note: The following review is part of our coverage of the 2015 Boston Underground Film Festival. For more information on the festival visit bostonunderground.org and follow BUFF on Twitter @.
There are a lot of different types of film, like any art form. If you like everything you see, or conversely hate everything, you probably aren’t allowing yourself to be fully open to what is out there. Art can be made for many reasons, but for me, it is at its most effective when it is trying to get us to feel and think. But art is informed by the artist and if realty television has taught us anything, it’s that the world is populated by a lot of people that are kind of terrible. Bag Boy Lover Boy could be considered art, but all I found was a mean-spirited and contrived mess.
Director-co-writer Andres Torres wants to offend you, he wants you to cringe and hate this nasty world on screen but for no other reason than his own entertainment.
The film starts off fine enough, and honestly has pieces in place to make for an interesting film. In Albert, it has its outcast, its oddity, its attempt to understand a strange world. Perhaps the only other character that rivals Albert’s importance is New York City itself. Albert is in many ways, a lost soul, without a real space in the world outside of the time he puts into the hot dog stand and the city is his only counterpart. He must find ways to interact with it and the sensibilities it holds. There are hints at almost Taxi Driver level exploration of solitude and self-discovery. The camera moves about to capture the darkest corners of the city. In the way New York is used and especially in Albert’s decrepit apartment, it reminds of the pre-Giuliani years, far from the tourism and lights of Time Square. Alas, these are only hints of a better film. Bag Boy Lover Boy is far too interested in the ugly to deign to make that type of film.
There can certainly be a point to telling a twisted tale and I have found myself simultaneously repulsed and captivated in many a film. However, this film is twisted without purpose. Director-co-writer Andres Torres wants to offend you, he wants you to cringe and hate this nasty world on screen but for no other reason than his own entertainment. As he parades this filth-lined nothingness before your eyes you can feel his lecherous grin spread wide, enjoying every repulsion you elicit. Albert is not a fully realized character, but a shell to be used for Torres’ miserable agenda. When he would prefer things to get dark he writes it so and like a puppet, Albert is commanded to encapsulate unnecessary perversion. We don’t care for Albert because we have been given no reason to. The film isn’t for us and it’s not even for Torres. It is for the reaction, to generate discomfort that Torres will likely slurp up with aplomb.
The lack of connection is derived from a complete lack of focus. The film begins on Albert but as it grows tired of his monotony, it introduces the photographer Ivan. The dastardly villain is the embodiment of the weasely and classless photographer. Like an overweight Terry Richardson, he uses Albert for his own gain and only for as long as he pleases, quickly wadding him up and throwing him away like a used tissue. The following devolution of Albert into murderous wannabe photographer is hurried and disjointed. Is this a condemnation of those that believe art to be simple, a deconstruction of the industry as a whole? Is Ivan posited as our hero? Does it even matter? Torres has given us no reason to care, leaving our biggest crave simply for the credits to begin to roll.
Continuing this spiral into the hateful, Bag Boy Lover Boy is disturbingly misogynistic.
Continuing this spiral into the hateful, Bag Boy Lover Boy is disturbingly misogynistic. Women are shown to be powerless garbage, objects to be used for sex or the profit of man. They are not human, simply tools to be used for the purpose that Torres believes them to serve. More to this point, the women of the film cannot remain without men. Perhaps the strongest female character, and that is certainly stretching the concept, is the other hot dog cart employee. She is a domineering nag whose only true obsession seems to be cleanliness, with her most notable actions involving doing the cleaning that Albert will not.
The only emotion that Bag Boy Lover Boy is effective at evoking is anger, which is appropriate as it seems that that is the place in which it was made. This mean-spirited, painful, and debilitating film serves no other purpose than to upset you. It drips with filth as it levels its hate on its audience, enjoying every bit of the depression it forces upon you. The biggest disappointments come in its moments of potential. As it delves deeper into the surreal you can see the type of filmmaker Andres Torres could be, however it is buried under too much negativity to be allowed to come to any kind of actual fruition. Bag Boy Lover Boy probably believes itself to be a commentary on art but it does not even deserve to carry the title. It is an empty, pointless, soul-crushingly awful exploration into grime covered ugly. There is no pay-off, it is a waste of time.
Bag Boy Lover Boy probably believes itself to be a commentary on art but it does not even deserve to carry the title. It is an empty, pointless, soul-crushingly awful exploration into grime covered ugly. There is no pay-off, it is a waste of time.