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Movie Review: Boys Don’t Cry

By Mike Everleth ⋅ October 22, 1999

BOYS DON’T CRY is a film that I don’t feel is appropriate for me to relate some smartass personal story to pass off as a “review”. But I’m not sure I know how to do this any other way. The main character of BOYS suffers from “Gender Identity Confusion”. I suffer from “Writer Identity Confusion”.

The following are two of the worst movies ever made: JUST ONE OF THE GUYS and THE NEXT KARATE KID, but I would assume most people have seen them in their entirety or at least in parts at some time or another. They’re impossible to avoid on cable. It seems like they’re always on, at least once a day everyday somewhere at some time.

For those of you who may not have seen JUST ONE OF THE GUYS or those who need their memories jogged, this ’80s film is about a pretty high school girl (played by Joyce Heyser) who has an article she’s written rejected from the school paper. Believing she is the victim of sex discrimination, she dresses up like a guy to see what the male world is like from the inside. I’ve never actually sat all the way through this piece of shit, so I don’t know what the moral of the story ends up being, but I’m sure all the characters end up learning some kind of lame “lesson”.

The scene I seem to always stumble upon is when Joyce’s brother teachers her how to act like a boy. How to swagger, scratch your balls, spit, etc. That kind of crap. Since the film is a comedy, or trying to be anyway, Joyce’s male behavior is grossly exaggerated. You know, like, every guy she meets she has to punch him in the arm and bark out a loud “Haw-Haw”. I do have to give Joyce some credit, she can kind of pull off playing a guy. But I don’t know, I don’t swagger or scratch my balls (not in public anyway).

THE NEXT KARATE KID is the fourth film in that series, and the last one thank God hopefully. Instead of Ralph Macchio in the eponymous role, Arnold from HAPPY DAYS has to train a new “kid” in the martial arts. And to make it interesting, at least in a vain attempt, the new kid happens to be a girl, played by Hilary Swank whose cross-eyed face endlessly screaming “Mr. Miyagi!” will be horribly burned into my memory until the day I die. The only reason to leave this movie on for more than two seconds is that Hilary, while cross-eyed through most of the film, has a killer body. She doesn’t show much of it, except in some ridiculously hideous prom dress for which the costume designer should never ever work in Hollywood again. But she does got a fine booty crammed into a pair of jeans.

BOYS DON’T CRY stars Hilary Swank as a young woman (I’m not sure if we’re ever told her true age) who dresses up like a guy to seduce women. Kinda sounds like a set-up for a sequel to JUST ONE OF THE GUYS. Well, it ain’t. Far from it. BOYS is one of the most painful, disturbing things I ever paid ten bucks to experience. And Hilary… Forget that screeching “Mr. Miyagi!” crap. She’s completely unrecognizable in this movie. Hell, I almost think that if it wasn’t said that she was a girl in the very first scene, you’d be hard-pressed to tell she wasn’t a real guy. It’s a complicated, grueling performance. And to seem at least vaguely conscious and relevant, I will tell you that Ms. Swank won a Golden Globe last night for her work, if you didn’t know that already.

JUST ONE OF THE GUYS and BOYS DON’T CRY should be shown as a double-feature somewhere, so people can make direct crap vs. art comparisons. It’s kind of interesting that both films are directed by women. GUYS: Lisa Gottlieb. BOYS: Kimberly Peirce. Lisa is like the “high-school-cheerleader-turned-filmmaker”, while Kimberly is the “angry, pissed-off art chick”. I don’t know, the two films really don’t have anything in common, so maybe I’m being unfair. I just thought it was a funny angle to explore for this review. Writing movie reviews is so stupid.

BOYS DON’T CRY: Based on the true story of Teena Brandon/Brandon Teena, a mentally unbalanced chick who pretended to be a boy for only reasons she knows and, without totally giving away the ending, for whom things didn’t end up so nice. Powerful movie. Go see it. That’s all you really need to know.

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