Monthly Archives: February 2018

“MICHAEL”— A Gay Movie from 1924

“MICHAEL”

A Gay Movie from 1924

Amos Lassen

Almost since the dawn of moving film there have landmark gay film and one of the important ones of the silent era is Carl Theodor Dreyer’s 1924 movie “Michael”. A new 2K restoration of the film was released as a World Exclusive on Blu-ray on February 12, 2018.

Based on Herman Bang’s 1902 novel of the same name, Dreyer’s film is a fascinating fin-de-siècle study of a “decadent” elderly artist (Benjamin Christensen) who is driven to despair by his relationship with his young protégé and former model, Michael whol is played by the handsome 22-year-old Walter Slezak. It was filmed in Germany, where the auteur demanded complete control of his film and got it despite the German studio’s usual policy of overseeing the films it produces. The co-writer is Thea von Harbou, who was Fritz Lang’s wife at the time. It was released in America some three years later with the new title “Chained: The Story of the Third Sex”. The underlining love triangle has a suggestive gay romance that never is brought out in the open, and has been ignored by many of the film critics.

 

Middle-aged bachelor Claude Zoret (Benjamin Christensen, film director) is a master painter living in opulence. Michael is a tempestuous struggling young artist who four years ago brought the Master his sketches but is rejected and instead is asked to model for him. This leads to making himself at home in the Master’s palace and having the Master pay for his upkeep. The paintings that Michael models for become very popular. The Master calls him his adopted son, and promises to leave him everything. But then when the Master paints a penniless Russian countess, Princess Zamikoff (Nora Gregor), complications arise when they both fall for her. The Master has previously painted only men and can’t get the eyes of the Countess right, as this is his only painting that gets panned by the art critics. Meanwhile Michael steals the Countess from his mentor, which drives him to solitude and to paint his final masterpiece “The Vanquished” that depicts an old man sitting on a rock who has lost everything.

Zoret calls in his art dealer Leblanc (Karl W. Freund, cinematographer) to sell his Caesar and Brutus painting, but learns that Michael, who has jilted him to live with the Countess, sold his best painting, “The Victor”, which he gave him as a present. He then orders the dealer to buy back the painting under the name Leblanc and return it to Michael where it belongs. 

When Zoret is on his deathbed, he calls for Michael but the ungrateful adopted son will not leave the arms of the Countess. But Zoret excuses him and makes out his last will leaving everything to Michael, exclaiming he can now die in peace because he has seen true love. The Master requests that his aide find a secret burial place in a field of flowers and tell no one where it is.

This is a difficult story to like or feel much for any of the self-absorbed flawed characters, or care much for their idea of love. But the pain from an unrequited gay love comes through loud and clear. The Master’s love is filled with self-pity and a nobility that seems completely foolish, but he reaches for truth in both love and art when he symbolically slays his ego.

As drama, the characters remain too distant to offer the warmth needed for Dreyer to convey that love in its purity conquers all in the end. But as an early example of a gay themed film, it becomes a landmark film showing the obstacles in the way of a gay romance.
With this “Michael we get a level of attention to restoration and presentation of the film that is quite unexpected, illuminating not only the early work of one of the greatest directors in the history of cinema, but giving us a wider look at the cinema of the period and the attitudes that formed it.

Dreyer’s film is a dramatic conflict based around the themes of art and love. Michael is an early examination of the power of art and the fire of inspiration. It’s an inspiration that arises out of the very act of being human and communicating with other people and all the emotions that this gives rise to – love, desire, jealousy, betrayal. “All these emotions contribute to the richness of life, its reflection in art and its ultimate culmination in death. The relationship of the artist and their inspiration is a complex one and not an easy one to achieve and it is particularly difficult to convey in a silent film. This is where Dreyer’s artistry shines.

The relationship between the Master and Michael is a more complexly layered one with elements of father and son, artist and muse, master and protégé and suggestions of a homosexual relationship between them. All this is difficult to convey in any film, never mind a silent one, but Dreyer manages to do so.

The other element of Dreyer’s great skill in the film is through the set design and the performances of the actors themselves. The elaborateness of the sumptuous sets and the rich lighting all support the baroque drama of the plot’s romance and tragedy. Dreyer draws much meaning through the eyes of the actors rather than the exaggerated gestures we might be more familiar with from other silent films of the period. “Michael” hints at the greatness Dreyer would achieve in his later films, but in its own right it is a magnificent film from this era of cinema.

“BLACK EAGLE”— Two Disc Special Edition on Blu-ray + DVD

“BLACK EAGLE”

Two Disc Special Edition on Blu-ray + DVD

Amos Lassen

“MVD Entertainment Group is proud to announce MVD Rewind Collection #3 “Black Eagle” in a two- disc Blu-ray + DVD Special Edition combo pack coming February 27, 2018.”

”Black Eagle” was a video store staple back in the 1980’s and features action film star Jean-Claude Van Damme (Bloodsport, Kickboxer) going head to head with martial arts legend Sho Kosugi (Enter the Ninja, Pray for Death)! “After an F-11 gets shot down over the Mediterranean Sea, The U.S. government cannot afford to lose the top-secret laser tracking device that was on board. But unfortunately, the KGB team lead by the infamous Andrei (Jean-Claude Van Damme) are beating the CIA in the race to find it. The CIA has no choice but to call in their best man, master martial-artist Ken Tani (Sho Kosugi), code name, Black Eagle. In response, the KGB resorts to an all-out war, with powerful Andrei matching Ken blow for blow. The movie was directed by legendary action director Eric Karson and William Bassett.’

“MVD Rewind Collection’s release of “Black Eagle” is the definitive edition of this 80’s action classic that includes two versions of the film and over two hours of additional material including deleted scenes and all-new interviews produced exclusively for this release.”

My review:

“Black Eagle” is very much a product of the time during which it was made – the eighties – when Cold War paranoia was high and when any action movie would be green-lit, especially if it featured some communists getting blown up by a square-jawed American patriot.

Sho Kosugi takes the lead here as a specialist CIA agent, Ken Tani (aka ‘Black Eagle’) who is sent across to Malta to prevent the communists from getting their hands on some kind of very special laser guided missile system that went down with an F11 plane that crashed in the sea off the island’s coast, after being allegedly shot down. Ken is reluctant to go since he’s got his annual leave planned with his two young sons, but when the CIA brings the boys over so that he can spend some time with them when he’s off duty, he agrees to at least be involved with the surveillance side of the operation. Things get a little more complicated with the arrival of a KGB team, which includes the infamous Andrei (Van Damme), who are hell-bent on retrieving the tracking device before the Americans do. What follows is a pretty standard cold war action-thriller that gets bogged down with too many characters and a subplot involving Ken’s two sons, who get kidnapped partway through. 

“Black Eagle” is billed as a Jean-Claude Van Damme film, but in fact it was only his second feature film appearance and he only has 70 words to say. This is definitely Kosugi’s film, and although he does his best, his limited English vocabulary and thick accent make him a harder sell as a lead player in an American movie. However, the fight scenes are pretty decent and his stand-offs against Van Damme are good.

The movie takes itself way too seriously and the pacing of the film is very up and down. It is more of an espionage film rather than a straight action film. The film is nicely shot and the great Malta locations are beautiful. Van Damme does his best, but still comes over as a little wooden, but you can see why he went on to become such a big action star. He is filled with charisma and athleticism. The scene of him on the boat, doing the splits across two barrels, whilst also knife-throwing, is quite unforgettable.

SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES include:

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations of the main feature.
  • Original 2.0 Stereo Audio (Uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray) and Dolby Digital 5.1.
  • Includes 93 minute theatrical version + 104 minute uncut extended version of the film.
  • Sho Kosugi: Martial Arts Legend (HD, 21:26) (featuring new interviews with Sho Kosugi and Shane Kosugi and more) MVD Rewind EXCLUSIVE!
  • The Making of BLACK EAGLE(HD, 35:50)(featuring new interviews with Director / Producer Eric Karson, Screenwriter Michael Gonzalez and stars Sho Kosugi, Doran Clark, Shane Kosugi and Dorota Puzio) MVD Rewind EXCLUSIVE!
  • Tales of Jean-Claude Van Damme (HD, 19:20) (Brand new interviews with cast and crew tell stories about working with the legendary action star) MVD Rewind EXCLUSIVE!
  • The Script and the Screenwriters (HD, 27:14) (featuring Michael Gonzales, Eric Karson and more) MVD Rewind EXCLUSIVE!
  • Deleted Scenes 
  • Original Theatrical Trailer (SD)
  • Collectible Poster

As with all MVD Rewind Collection releases, this Blu-ray + DVD Special Edition combo pack is housed in a limited edition “retro style” slipcover with the film’s original 80’s artwork. The slip will only be available on the first pressing and once MVD runs out… it’s gone (the slipcover… not the release).

“A History of Judaism: From Its Origins to the Present” by Martin Goodman— A Mighty Task

Goodman, Martin. “A History of Judaism: From Its Origins to the Present”, Princeton University Press, 2018.

A Mighty Task

Amos Lassen

In writing “A History of Judaism”, Martin Goodman took on a mighty task. Judaism is one of the oldest religions of the world spanning more than three millennia. Yet Judaism has preserved its distinctive identity despite the extraordinarily diverse forms and beliefs it has embodied. This is the first comprehensive look in one volume at how Judaism came to be, its evolution from one age to the next, and how its various strains, sects, and traditions relate to each other.

We begin by going back in time to Judaism’s origins in the polytheistic world of the second and first millennia BCE to the temple cult at the time of Jesus. Goodman shares the stories of the rabbis, mystics, and messiahs of the medieval and early modern periods and takes us through the many varieties of Judaism today. We travel the world from the Middle East, Europe, and America to North Africa, China, and India and learn of the institutions and ideas on which all forms of Judaism are based as well as explore the different threads of doctrinal and philosophical debate that exist throughout its history. We see Judaism as a vibrant and multifaceted religious tradition that has shaped the spiritual heritage of the world and humankind.

The book encapsulates most of Jewish thought over time into one very readable volume supported by footnotes and illustrated by maps. This is no easy task when we consider the twists and turns of history and of man. There is a great sense of authority here but more important is that the writing engages the reader throughout. I was mystified at ready our history in such a clear and precise manner. A special bonus is adding to the narrative, some of the great and most influential Jewish lives. Martin Goodman compresses the entire history of Judaism from Josephus to Jewish Renewal and pays special attention to Jewish diversity and upon up-to-date scholarship. We follow Judaism through its multiple manifestations through the ages as we gain a fresh perspective on how both past and present come together in Judaism.

We see Jewish communities in their many contexts and gain an analysis of religious and intellectual developments from antiquity to modern times. Here is the prefect example of what can do when bringing history together with excellent writing skills.

 

 

“In Search of Israel: The History of an Idea” by Michael Brenner— The Concept of a Jewish State

Brenner, Michael. “In Search of Israel: The History of an Idea”, Princeton University Press, 2018.

The Concept of a Jewish State

Amos Lassen

It seems that I have spent most of my life trying to understand the idea of a Jewish state and that includes the many years that I lived in Israel. The early Zionists envisioned the creation of a nation that would be unlike all others. However, the state that came to be in 1948 was not what had been expected. It was born out of the dead of the Holocaust and of the many years of Jewish suffering yet it was a nation that was unique with a model society in the Middle East yet Israel was a paradox, The country was shaped by its struggle to define itself while securing a place among the other nations of the world.

At the first Zionist Congress in 1897 there was no single solution as to how the normalization of the Jewish people was to happen. Theodore Herzl, the founded of the Zionist movement thought that a secular-liberal “New Society” that would be home to Jews and non-Jews alike was the answer. East European Zionists, instead, advocated for the renewal of the Hebrew language and the creation of a distinct Jewish culture. Socialists saw a society of workers’ collectives and farm settlements. The Orthodox Jews wanted a society based on the laws of Jewish scripture. Immediately, the stage was set for a clash of Zionist dreams and Israeli realities that still continues today.

Now, seventy years after its founding, Israel has achieved a great deal, “but for a state widely viewed as either a paragon or a pariah”, writer Michael Brenner argues, “the goal of becoming a state like any other remains elusive. If the Jews were the archetypal “other” in history, ironically, Israel—which so much wanted to avoid the stamp of otherness—has become the Jew among the nations.” While he is unable to answer questions about modern Zionism, Brenner elucidates the concept of modern Israel. Personally, I find it fascinating that while I lived there I wanted Israel to be more secular and while living in the United States now, I find myself wanting just the opposite. The idea that Israel is to be “a light unto the nations” has yet to happen even with all that Israel has provided to the modern world.

What makes this book both fascinating and unique is that Brenner has managed to unite the history of Israel with the history of Zionism taking us back to Herzl’s original vision through the various forms that Zionism has taken to the present. It is no surprise that since the early days of political Zionism, the idea of Israel has clashed wit ideas of normalcy and uniqueness. This is a book that cries out to be read by those who care about Israel and what she will be.

Brenner explores the tensions “within the Zionist project between Israel’s strivings for normality and its ongoing sense of exceptionalism” and he does so with style and grace. The different visions for a homeland for the Jews are many and need to be understood in order to appreciate what we do have now. Brenner does a wonderful job of explaining these.

“All Our Wrong Todays” by Elan Mastai— Heartbreak and a Time Machine

Mastai, Elan. All Our Wrong Todays: A Novel, Dutton, 2018.

Heartbreak and a Time Machine

Amos Lassen

It is 2016, and technology has solved all of humanity’s problems. However for Tom Barren, the world is an ugly place. He has lost the girl of his dreams. Tom has a time machine bult by his father and on a time-traveling mishap, Tom finds himself stranded in a terrible alternate reality and is desperate to fix his mistake and go home until he discovers that this imperfect world houses wonderfully unexpected versions of his family, his career, and the woman who may just be the love of his life.

Tom faces an impossible choice: go back to his perfect but loveless life, or stay in the messy reality with a soul mate by his side. As he searches for the answer, he is taken across continents and timelines on a journey to figure out, finally, who he really is and what is his future. This is a story of love in its many forms, and of the unexpected journeys we take to find it.

It took me a while to get into their book and there were actually a couple of times that I stopped reading it altogether, frustrated that I could not get into the story. Tom was not a sympathetic character and because his father was such a genius, he decides that he will never be able to rival his father’s success so he decides there’s no point in trying, in trying anything at all. Instead he complains about his life and how his father has ruined it. He really made me dislike him.

Then, the story began along with time travel and everything changed for me. Instead of being a book about time travel, this became a story about the consequences of time travel gone amiss. Now at this point, I must be very carful not to write any spoilers. Tom Barren suddenly becomes a nice guy as he discovers things about himself. My negative feelings about him and the book evaporated.

We have some wonderful time travel experiences and they are all carefully explained. The creative storytelling propels this story of Tom who we see, at first, as a self-deprecating loser in a near utopian future who alters history at a pivotal technological event accidentally changes how we know who we are. What I thought was going to be a boring read became captivating, moving, unusual, and thought provoking, a love story and a thriller.

This is Tom’s story, with all its fantastical solutions and personal redemption and has something for everyone— science fiction, romance, mystery and adventure. The characters are well developed and complex and stay with the reader.

“Left Bank: Art, Passion, and the Rebirth of Paris, 1940-50” by Agnes Poirer— The Postwar Years

Poirer, Agnes. “Left Bank: Art, Passion, and the Rebirth of Paris, 1940-50”, Henry Holt, 2018.

The Postwar Years

Amos Lassen

Agnes Poirier shares the stories of the poets, writers, painters, and philosophers whose lives came together to extraordinary effect between 1940 and 1950. This is the human drama behind some of the most celebrated works of the 20th century including Richard Wright’s “Native Son”, Simone de Beauvoir’s “The Second Sex”, and James Baldwin’s “Giovanni’s Room” to Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” and Saul Bellow’s “Augie March”. We also read about the origin stories of now legendary movements, from Existentialism to the Theatre of the Absurd, New Journalism, bebop, and French feminism.

Arthur Koestler and Norman Mailer were there as young men, Picasso’s studio was active as Camus and Sartre. Newspapers were born and died as did literary journals and there were many strange bedfellows. Parisians fell in and out of and the world’s political, intellectual, and creative landscapes were changed forever. Paris was a city filled with drama and passion. It was a time of intellectual and political ferment. Poirier’s history starts in 1938 with the world on the brink of war. We continue through to 1949, with the Marshall Plan. The book is written chronologically, following the lives of artists, writers, musicians, publishers, and performers who create “a collage of images, a kaleidoscope of destinies”. Information comes from memoirs, histories, biographies, and research.

Here are Left Bank intellectuals during the Nazi occupation and we sense the joy and pain of experimental living and the moral ambiguity of living through the Occupation. It was a fantastic time and it has now been recaptured for us. I love this book.

“Sadness is a White Bird” by Moriel Rothman-Zecher— A Coming-of-Age Love Triangle

 

Rothman-Zecher, Moriel. “Sadness Is a White Bird: A Novel”, Atria Books, 2018.

A Coming-of-Age Love Triangle

Amos Lassen

Jonathan is a young man who is preparing to serve in the Israeli army while also trying to reconcile his close relationship to two Palestinian siblings with his deeply ingrained loyalties to family and country. We begin in an Israeli military jail, where Jonathan remembers clearly the series of events that led him there. It all began two years earlier when after spending several years in Pennsylvania, Jonathan moves back to Israel and is ready “to fight to preserve and defend the Jewish state”. His grandfather was a Salonican Jew whose community was erased by the Nazis and he was one of the pioneers to help establish Israel. Jonathan is conflicted about the possibility of having to monitor the occupied Palestinian territories and this becomes a very deep concern when he meets Nimreen and Laith, the twin daughter and son of his mother’s friend.

From that meeting, the three become inseparable as they wandered the streets on weekends, had new adventures and laughed together. They shared so much from joints on the beach, trading snippets of poems, intimate secrets and family histories, resentments, and dreams. In effect, they created their own family. With his draft date rapidly approaching, Jonathan wrestled with the question of what it means to be proud of your heritage and loyal to your people, while also loving those outside of your own biological and tribal family. Then the day that put Jonathan in prison came and his relationship with the twins was changed forever.

This novel looks at one guy as he tries to find his place in the world and who found, along the way, love. In the process, we gain a look at identity formation, both personal and collective. As I read, I was reminded of so many of my own life experiences. As young people we become very aware of the changes in the world that we want to make. We establish our own set of values and beauty and see what we want to see.

The story is told through letters written by Jonathan whose grandfather convinced him of the honor and duty that cones with the defense of Israel. Jonathan becomes devoted to his grandfather’s dreams of recapturing some of that which he lost when they were forced to leave Palestine. At the same time he is became friends with Palestinian Arabs, Laith and Nimreen.

Laith and his twin sister, Nimreen, became Jonathan’s voices of the other side of the political divide. Their relationship becomes strained because of ideologies and Jonathan is sure that he must follow what his grandfather told him to do. Laith and Nimreen feel that their view of the situation is right.

Jonathan tells the story through his letters, thoughts, journal entries that he writes to Laith, his friend he feels he’s lost along the way as he sits in an Iranian military jail cell. How he got there and everything else about his life is told in flashback.

This is so much more than a coming-of-age story— it also shows the dangers and ravages of war and this is also a love story of a kind. We sense Jonathan’s spirit, thoughts and feelings and the see the effect that the Israeli/Palestinian has on his relationship with Laith and Nimreen. Beautifully written and honest and sincere there is, of course, a message here.

“What Drowns the Flowers in Your Mouth: A Memoir of Brotherhood” by Rigoberto Gonzalez— An Immigrant Story

Gonzalez, Rigoberto. “What Drowns the Flowers in Your Mouth: A Memoir of Brotherhood” (Living Out: Gay and Lesbian Autobiography), University of Wisconsin Press, 2018.

An Immigrant Story

Amos Lassen

I remember clearly reading Rigoberto Gonzalez for the first time and being stunned by the beauty of his language. He has already written two volumes of memoir so I felt that I knew a great deal about him so I was surprised when this new volume came out. This is the story of love between brothers as they deal with grief, trauma, and poverty.

The Gonzalez family were Mexican immigrants to California’s Coachella Valley, and they were poor, vulnerable and illiterate. Three generations of González men turned to vices or withdrew into depression. As brothers Rigoberto and Alex grew to manhood, they were haunted by the traumas of their mother’s early death, their loneliness, their father’s desertion, and their grandfather’s abuse. Rigoberto was able to escape. He went to college and became a writer. However he was unable to escape his struggles with alcohol and abusive relationships. His brother Alex faced difficult family relations, a marriage on the rocks and fatherhood.

The brothers’ beauty came out of dark emotions and the hope they found helping each other. The Latino idea of machismo and what masculinity means always hovered over the brothers’ lives and as readers we get a look at the private lives of men, and how they manage to build strength while dealing with grief, loss, and despair.

Surely his growing up the way he did invokes anger and regret but instead of emphasizing those feelings, we get a lot about hope. Gonzalez writes with great power and emotion and I found it difficult to remain dry-eyed as I read. We see that he was able to survive through his generosity of spirit. The last two pages reduced me to weeping reader but one who loved every word of what I read here.

 

 

 

“Illuminating Jewish Thought: Explorations of Free Will, the Afterlife, and the Messianic Era” by Rabbi Netanel Wiederblank— The Theological Foundations and Philosophies of Judaism

Wiederblank, Netanel. “Illuminating Jewish Thought: Explorations of Free Will, the Afterlife, and the Messianic Era”, Maggid, 2018.

The Theological Foundations and Philosophies of Judaism

Amos Lassen

When I received my copy of “Illuminating Jewish Thought”, I was both filled with joy and apprehension. I was happy in that as a philosopher I was going to have many new ideas to think about. The apprehension had to do with the sheer size of the book with its 600 plus pages. Because I like to read each sentence several times, I imagined seeing myself sitting with this book for many Passovers and mulling over each philosophical statement. I am proud to say that I misjudged the book as it is totally readable that I sat glued to the chair as I read. Here in one volume are the theological foundations of the Jewish faith as well as answers to so many of the questions that I have pondered for years. Rabbi Wiederblank brings together Jewish texts ranging from philosophical to Kabbalistic, ancient to modern, in this easily accessible source book.

We investigate the Jewish scholastic tradition of three fundamental and esoteric topics: free will, the afterlife, and the messianic era. We look at primary sources translated into modern English from their original tongues. We are therefore able to read and analyze independent texts and to do so independently. Rabbi Wiederblank then illuminates and contextualizes these complex concepts. In effect, as we read we discover the very foundations of Jewish practice and belief. The concentration is on those theological principles of Judaism that have to do with eschatological thought. Using the three principles of redemption or divine justice, revelation and faith in God as the framework here, this volume centers on the concept of redemption with two more volumes to follow.

Having taken many graduate and undergraduate philosophy course, I remember all too well that the purpose of philosophical exploration is to deal with the questions that are always on our minds but are lodged in those recesses that are not always part of our awareness. However by studying these questions, we can rise to spiritual excellence. The topics that we examine here are those that we do not publicly look at and/or deal with. We study the concept of Jewish thought here and what this term means takes the entire first chapter of the book and I must say that this chapter really made me think.

I have always had questions about the Jewish definition of free will and how to use it as well as its scope. The works here really help to understand it. The world to come or the afterlife is another enigma in Judaism and the explanations here are eye opening. Then there is the concept of the Messiah of which I found the sources and explanations here to be exceptional in terms of gaining understanding. This is not just a book to be read but one to be cherished. My copy is on a very special place on my desk so that it is always close at hand.

“REFERENCES” Finding the Right Date

“REFERENCES”

Finding the Right Date

Amos Lassen

While we may not want to admit it, we have all been on blind dates with various results. We are also all aware of how difficult a blind date can be. It would have been much easier if people auditioned for dates or sent in a resume or were interviewed

Michael Jason Allen is a former model and musician who is trying his luck at acting. While running a business where he spent a lot of time checking character references, he got the idea to have something of the same for dating purposes. This is the subject of “References.” Allen wrote, directed, produced and stars in a new kind of romantic comedy. There is a great looking cast of characters and while the story is a bit thin, the cinematography is beautiful.

The film opens, with Marla, an employment agency worker ,declining yet another dinner invitation from her concerned mom who is worried that her daughter does not get out enough. The when her Aunt Helen (Laura Durant) invites her to take over her mail store in Arizona, she grabs the chance to get out of the big city. It is there that she meets Jesse Collins (Michael Jason Allen) whose good looks, charm and humor and an invitation to dinner help to change her low spirits. helps let down her guard enough to accept an invitation to dinner. Marla learns that Jesse has quite a reputation around town but it did not take long before the two of them spend a lot of time together (This is presented in a clever montage of personal shots that end up to a kiss and a night of passion). However Marla has been hurt with bad relationships too many times and Jesse’s reputation as the town’s Casanova causes her to back down instead of being hurt once again.

Jesse feels something for Marla and makes a list of the women he has dated and tells her to check with them to find out how sincere he is. I wish we knew more abut Jesse and that his character was a bit more developed. Even with that, this is a fun film whose real star is the state of Arizona with its gorgeous scenery.

The film is on Amazon Prime US/UK.