Monday, September 18, 2023

Cruisers | Leland Montgomery (screenwriter and director) / 2015 [short film]


by Douglas Messerli


Leland Montgomery (screenwriter and director) Cruisers / 2015 [7 minutes]


Paul (Christopher Matias Aguila) and John (Leland Montgomery) are in the East Bay and meet up in the park toilet. They begin to kiss but the noise of children quickly shy them away, as Paul, who refuses even to provide his name takes John to a more isolated spot.


    But hardly do they arrive there and Paul falls among some underbrush and hurts his head. When John determines he’s okay, he begins to head off, but Paul calls him back, finally providing his name and explaining that he’s from out of town, Portland, returned home because of his mother’s death. He’s a writer, he declares, then adding that he’s really a barista, but he wants to be a writer.

     John admits that he too is a writer, a real writer who reviews movies for The Tribune. John takes him to a bramble, where Paul talks more seriously about the fact that he grew up “here” but now feels lost, wondering if he should perhaps return.

     They begin to kiss, but suddenly it is now John who breaks away saying that it’s getting all too serious and that he has to go. Besides, he has a boyfriend.

      Like so many “cruisers,” Paul is left alone, with no results for his efforts; after finally opening up to John only to be rejected once more, he will perhaps think even more carefully next time about trying to become intimate with a stranger. In this case, at least, neither of them have found what they might have been looking for, or perhaps they simply discovered that they were truly not looking for anything, perhaps simply being, as the film’s brief summary sentence describes them, merely “lonely and bored.” Yet certainly even those needs were unfulfilled in their quick encounter. It appears that they are both better at blocking out intimate communication and sexual contact than embracing it.


Los Angeles, September 17, 2023

Reprinted from World Cinema Review (September 2023).

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