Just watched Making the Boys all about the making of The Boys in the Band.
Before I say anything about the doc, let me mention the reaction I had to seeing The Boys in the Band for the first time a few years ago. I felt like I had seen a work of art that wouldn't ever be matched, something that everyone should see and reflected not only the time it was made, but also today's society. It was raw, it was angry at times, but it showed this group of men as who they are, without the trappings society forced on them. In short, it was a revelation to me.
So I went into the doc with high expectations. That was most likely my mistake.
Now, this isn't a bad doc; it covers a lot of ground and encompasses the play, the movie, the social issues and the legacy of the work. It undeniably suffers from the toll taken on the cast and key behind-the-scenes personnel. In fact, at the end, each of the "boys" is show and then a caption tells what happened to them. I had an overwhelming urge to text my partner and tell him I loved him when the fifth mention of AIDS popped onto the screen.
The personnel who are still around are more than happy to talk about the film and the world at the time (save one). Maybe I shouldn't focus on what the movie doesn't have and focus on what it does: it provides a history lesson while also telling us about the play and movie. It explains the challenges, the controversies, the highs, the lows...all of it...just like a good doc should.
From my Letterboxd review:
"Kinda scattershot in its approach, opting to be a jack of all trades and a master of none. The problem isn't so much in the movie, but in the unfocused theme of the doc: it wants to cover everything about the play, film, social issues and behind the scenes information in a scant 90-ish minutes. It's impossible.
This landmark movie deserves more. Maybe it could never happen, considering the devastation AIDS and other illnesses took on the cast and key behind the scenes personnel. Five of the nine actors are deceased while one has chosen to distance himself from this production."
Recommended, but watch The Boys in the Band first. I couldn't find a BD, which isn't a surprise.