I was mostly charmed by the 2012 movie set in Paris with French actors but with dialogue mostly in English, “Bad Boy Street” (Rue des mauvaise garçons, a real street name in Paris’ fourth arrondissement that might also be translated into English as “Thug Street”), written and directed by Todd Verow (Frisk, 1996; Anonymous, 2004; Vacationland, 2006; Leave Blank, 2010). It is an offbeat romance between two men: the 40-something Parisian Claude (Yann de Monterno) and the 25-year-old American, Brad (Kevin Miranda), whom Claude finds passed out in the street (the Rue des mauvaise garcons) near his walk-up apartment.
Somehow, Claude gets the very drunk Brad not only up stairs to his apartment, but inside it up a spiral staircase (colimaçon, one of the French words that has stuck in my memory). It’s not just that Brad is still more or less unconscious and dead weight, but that Brad outweighs Claude by maybe 25 pounds (ten or so kilograms). Having deposited the man (thus far nameless) in his bed, Claude sleeps downstairs on his sofa.
When the man (Brad) wakes up, he goes to the window, providing viewers the first of several views of his derrière (a notable asset). If this were a real French movie, there would probably be some full-frontal nudity, but it’s an American movie shot in Paris with a French cast (including Kevin Miranda).
Probably if it were a French film, there would be some spoken lines earlier. As it is, Brad makes his way down the colimaçon (with a pillow held against his penis) and fellates Claude, thereby waking him up. After Claude ejaculates, he offers to make coffee and disappoints Brad by not having croissants on hand.
Earlier in his life, Claude followed a lover to Fort Worth, Texas some years back and speaks English with considerable accent-enough of one that I did not notice Miranda’s, though when he uses a French words (like “croissant”) his pronunciation is native-like (indeed, native… though he is of Portuguese descent). Miranda’s Brad also maintains the very European model facial stubble.
Claude has been burned by falling in love with an American before, and one found passed out in the street does not seem like a great bet, nor does the street name seem auspicious for a long-term relationship… On the other hand, Claude does not have a current lover and mostly hangs with his gal-pal Catherine (Florence d’ Azemar) making wry remarks.
Brad does not want Catherine (or anyone else) to see him. Claude recognizes that Brad is closeted without knowing whether there is a wife back in LA or what other reason there might be. Brad tells him that a scar is from working as an extra on a movie some time back.
Claude takes Brad around town (the Moulin Rouge is visible from his balcony, they cross the Seine at the Pont des Arts, the footbridge of lovers’ padlocks, etc.). Though most of the movie takes place in Claude’s apartment, with a key scene in his workplace. I’m sure the exterior scenes were shot (digitally) without permits for this low-budget movie.
The desire Brad has for Claude and Claude has for Brad sizzles, and Catherine provides considerable comic relief without being a stereotypical faghag. (Their dialogue is in French, unlike that between Brad and Claude.) “I must stop drinking and sleeping with drunk gay guys” is probably the best line in the movie. I think Todd Verow himself appears as an agent of Brad’s in a bitterly comic scene.
There are some long takes as well as jump cuts, and I don’t think anyone would fault “Bad Boy Street” for being “rambling,” as some did “Vacationland.” Verow shot (in 9 days in sequence) and edited “Bad Boy Street” as well as writing, directing, and appearing in it. The three main actors must have improvised some of their dialogue, since they receive credit for “additional dialogue.” In an interview by Christopher Banks Verow said: “I have some things where it’s completely scripted, but the way I prefer to work is – come up with a story and work with the actors on creating the characters. The script is more of an outline of what is going to happen. We work together to discover what is actually going to happen.”
The DVD sound is spotty in some placess, so subtitles for the French dialogue help. The music by Greg Sabo works well without obtruding.