The Velocity of Gary (1998) - The Velocity of Gary (1998) - User Reviews - IMDb
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A story with subtle poignancy, as charming as its weaknesses
PiranianRose16 May 2007
What a pleasure it is to discover a little film which presents little pieces of your own life story. This is a film that I imagine many will question what the hell is the point. It feels like an exploratory independent film that doesn't try to be very clever or cool, just an ordinary story with plenty of room for randomness. As it fits in neither the energetic class of cinema characterized by Tarantino and Fellini, nor the understated class a la Hou Hsiao-Hsien and Gus Van Sant, it won't impress the entertainment seekers and may not work for the purists. That said, I personally liked it more than not.

The great Michelangelo Antonioni said that films are not to be understood; they are to be experienced. As a film VELOCITY may not score high, but viewing it was an experience which I will not forget soon. The scenes with the deaf boy in drag were simply poignant and memorable. I'll never forget the priceless look on his face when his wig was pulled away by the rascals. It was a look which captured a thousand unspoken words that few, if any, Hollywood star would be capable of replicating. His pursuit of Gary brings back traces of my own memory. For me, this character was the primary saving grace of the film; his "acting" was superb, so heart-felt that I'm not sure if it's acting or reality--probably a hybrid of both.

In summary, VELOCITY is a film where some fragments are better than the whole package. Whether or not you can enjoy the film probably depends on how much your life experience draws you to the characters.
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6/10
I liked the premise, just wish it had played a little differently.
triple815 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
SPOILERS:

I sure didn't expect so many negative comments on this movie. Although I didn't love it myself, I wouldn't call it the worst movie ever made. I'd actually give it about a 6 which basically means I neither loved it nor hated it. I really liked the premise and I sure felt the poignancy but did not really love how the movie played out in general.

In case someone is reading this who has no idea what it is about and does not mind major spoilers, I will say only that it concerns three individuals in the sex industry, Valentino, Mary Carmen and Gary. Valentino is bi sexual and having a relationship with both characters and they become a sort of little family, particularly when one of the characters becomes very ill(with something that appears to be Aids though the word is never really used). Anyway..this is their story-theirs and a few supporting characters along the way and a dog....Anyway....

First the good. The performances ranged from good to outstanding with Salma Hayak being the scene stealer. Although the main characters are in the sex industry this movie's major focus is not sex, although some of that is certainly present. It is more about how the characters' relate to each other and the interaction between Mary Carmen and Gary is pretty interesting and for people who like to analyze human behavior in movies, there will be a lot to analyze here.

And then there's the poignancy itself. I was very moved by the story. It was very sad and the performers do a very good job in portraying the range of emotions their characters are feeling. I really felt a lot was well done and really don't think this film deserves a below average rating.

Now the negatives. I felt the way the movie played was just to arty in tone. It didn't need to be because the story was there. It took away from the story though. There was a lot from the imagery to the individual scenes themselves that just reeked of an arty experimental quality that was distracting and took away from the movie.

I also felt that there was just to much squabbling between Gary and Mary Carmen and frankly, the movie just wasn't very enjoyable to watch as a whole. The whole subplot with the dog disappearing(and his journey and re appearance) I didn't feel added much. I felt the strength of the film was the human element to the characters, the clear feelings of both love and anger that were so apparent-not much difference from many real life relationships..and the ability of the movie to immerse one in it's plot, even if it isn't much fun to watch overall. But I think I would have liked it more, if it had toned down some of the arty aspects and some of the previous stuff mentioned.

I would neither recommend this movie or not recommend it. I liked the premise and appreciated the movie even if it isn't one of my favorites. My rating's a perfect 6.
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3/10
Can someone explain the title?
shrine-21 January 2000
It's painful to watch competent actors slumming in this movie. You know they are reaching for something "cool" and knowing, when what they ultimately grab at is something infantile and delusional. This is probably the writer James Still's point: that these people need to look death in the face and grow up. But it's such a mundane point.

If death is all around you, if the people you know are dropping like flies, and you figure the remedy is to get along with the people who are left (because they may be gone tomorrow) and have children of your own (so you feel death has not defeated you), why stay among people whose habits issue in death? Why impose the specter of sexual caution and responsibility, when what makes the people in this movie who they are flies in the face of this appeal? I don't think the main characters Valentino, Mary Carmen, and Gary form a bisexual triangle, because they want to lead wary, conventional lives. The thought presented here that bisexuality can be the common ground on which homosexuals and heterosexuals can come together is sly pontificating, and when you consider the way the camera languishes over the liplock Vincent D'Onofrio is made to plant on Thomas Jane, you get the feeling that the heterosexual side is taking a back seat to the flip side of the triangle.

This really seems like Gary's story anyway; Selma Hayek is trying much too hard to garner some respect and dignity for Mary Carmen for it to be hers. Director Dan Ireland should have pulled her in more; it might have done wonders for her big moment, when she lip-syncs to Diana Ross' "Ain't No Mountain High Enough." It's supposed to suggest the strength of her attachment to her lover, but Hayek hasn't been asked to play it deeply. She declaims everything, so what she emotes spreads out too thinly.

It's Thomas Jane's reticence that convinces us of whom the story favors. When his body surrenders to Valentino on the dance floor, or his eyes roll back with Valentino's teeth in his neck, or he broods quietly when Valentino and Mary Carmen are sharing intimacies, the sexual undercurrent he creates pulls you under with great impetus. This must be what Still means by Gary's velocity. At least that is what I figure. But if I happen to be wrong, what in blazes does that pretentious title mean?
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No Velocity - No Veracity
NJMoon6 November 1999
"THE VELOCITY OF GARY" starts out promising and quite cinematic with hunky Thomas Jane as daylight cowboy Gary (not his real name) showering in one of New York's open hydrants. Montage of Gary (n.h.r.n) in every cinematographer's NY tribute from Bowery to Brooklyn, which makes Gary (nhrn) one busy cruiser.

Next up, Gary (nhrn) reluctantly comes to the aid of a young drag queen whose straight off the bus from one of the square states (swinging her suitcase and grinning as if she's just landed in the Greenwich Village of the musical "Wonderful Town" not the real-life scaresville of today) and is promptly set upon by gay bashers. Suffice it to say, the kid learns that interesting people do indeed live on Christopher Street.

Unfortunately, this collection of downtown losers is of far more interest to themselves than us. Under-developed and preening constantly, they speak in bad poetic jargon (the film's stage roots showing terribly) and manage to grate on our nerves in a New York minute. Selma Hayek (real name) and Jane (real name) are both oddly drawn to super-loser bisexual idiot played by Vincent D'Onofrio (who should change his name after helping produce this mess). All need a haircut in the worst way, making their adventure look like a 60's flashback when it's anything but. Everything goes downhill after the first flash forward and never recovers.

"The Velocity of Gary" is lacks both velocity and veracity. You're better off not having known their real names.
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A Poor Job on a Good Idea
stand195029 January 2000
I found this movie to be utterly unsatisfying because of its excursions away from the story, (which was unfocused to begin with) and the poor editing job. Some of the acting was passable, but I did not believe any of the characters were "real", with the exception of the black drag queens. This was a script that could have gone somewhere and instead lay on the floor like the egg the movie turned out to be.
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8/10
very moving film
JRich4 November 1999
Not a main stream movie by any means. This movie is funny, exciting, sad, and uplifting. See this film for Thomas Jane, Salma Hayek, the funny drag queens and the cool photography. I liked the music too. The film was a little slow in some parts but well worth
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1/10
Painfully Boring
vivesi-119 March 2003
"The Velocity of Gary' is like our worst visit to the dentist, dragged out for what seems like centuries. The performances are overwrought, characters underdeveloped. The most wrenching and distasteful part is that, on paper, this was probably an interesting story. Hayek is undergoing some visible pain in that subway over socks. Socks? I can't even laugh my way out of this movie because it wants to be taken so seriously. And that is the fatal flaw that no movie can overcome.
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2/10
Was, perhaps, a good play, but not a good film.
ctimberl25 November 2000
The film has an interesting beginning and introduces promising characters and a promising theme. Alas, very quickly things start to fall apart. Characters are introduced and dispensed with, having served no real purpose. One character who, unfortunately, is present throughout the film serves mostly to irritate us and the film's other characters. One wonders why anyone would put up with her for an extended period of weeks, months, or years when we don't want to see her for 2 hours. What was the man dressed like an accountant doing in this film? Why was an illness introduced clumsily? I wish I had seen the play so that I could see what went wrong in the translation to film (assuming that the play was good enough to warrant film treatment). I did watch the entire film, but I wish I hadn't. I do think the film should be seen by all college and university film majors as a lesson in what not to do. This one is a real mess.
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1/10
One of the worst films of 1999
Freedom-723 July 1999
The only thing keeping me in the theatre during this movie was the $8 I paid to see it. The plot is completely obscure. The acting is less than tolerable. Vampire/Porno/Love Triangle with AIDS...can't really think of a worse combo. The only good thing about this film was the opening five minutes.
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1/10
NOOOOOOOOooooooo......
laxman2 July 2000
The only character that showed any hope of developing into someone cool lasts about a half-hour, Salma Hayek is rarely off-screen for more than a few minutes, but it is STILL the most unwatchable movie ever made. It looks like an American attempt to imitate a bad foreign movie, only its about as successful as an American attempt to re-make Akira or something on that level.
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8/10
Original story with genuine feeling for its characters
Boyo-215 November 1999
I found the movie to be great at times and despite a couple of awkward scenes, enjoyed it very much. The actors are all terrific, especially Thomas Jane. I also enjoyed the drag queen lip-synching along to Patsy Cline and the Halloween parade scenes. I have thought about this movie fondly ever since seeing it - its not like any other movie I've seen lately so I appreciate it for that, too.
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3/10
bad
kaps-25 April 2000
I tried watching this movie twice and could not get through it either time. Maybe if I gave it another chance I would enjoy it more, but right now I think it's horrible. So bad, disgusting characters, Ethan was the only thing that drew my attention to the film, too bad he only had a tiny tiny role. Sorry if you actually enjoyed this film.
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10/10
This Film Is Fantastic!!!!!
craze21-ad8 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This film is one of the best I have seen in a very long time Vincent D'Onofrio is as gorgeous and as a fantastic actor as he is always is as the completely sexy Valantino! He is the true star of the film, Gary is a very complex character and Salma Hayek is on the verge of been obsessed with Valantino. I believe it shows a beautiful love story between three people no matter what gender or sexual orientation. The two best scenes have to be the second kissing scene between Vincent D'Onofrio and Thomas Jane as it looks seriously as two people in love rather than the director trying to force them to be together and the second best scene has to be the Halloween drag singing one that had me in stitches just for the fact that Vincent D'Onofrio is about 2 foot taller than all the extras!!!! I would seriously recommend this film to everyone especially those who already rate Vincent D'Onofrios fantastic talent as an actor
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A sweet movie about the up and downs in people's life
bsch18 January 2000
I just watched the movie. And I can't understand the bad critics, because it is a sweet and interesting movie. The Actors doing a pretty good job. Especially Thomas Jane. He was part of the reason why I rented it in the first place. His performance was stunning.
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2/10
The terminal velocity of Gary* (*not a good film)
majikstl21 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers
How could a person who is supposedly totally deaf, with any degree of accuracy, lip sync to a record playing on a juke box? Why on earth would a person running a dance school feature a porn star as a guest performer in a recital featuring pre-teen children, especially since he is playing Prince Charming, the character he had played in one of his X-rated movies? Why would a porn film aimed at a straight male audience have a poster that features a huge close up of the male star and not a revealing picture of the leading lady? Why does any of this matter? Well, thinking about such things helps to relieve the monotony of watching THE VELOCITY OF GARY* (*not his real name), a film that manages to be both pointless and pretentious at the same time. Though a more amusing way to past the time would be trying to figure out which of the characters and/or actors is the most annoying. THE VELOCITY OF GARY has the feel of one of those usually awful experimental films from the sixties or seventies where everybody seems to be improvising their dialogue, ranting and raving and generally overacting in hope of stumbling over a plot along the way.

Gary of the title (Thomas Jane) is an inarticulate bumpkin from the Midwest whose new life in New York has reduced him to selling his blood. He meets Valentino (Vincent D'Onofrio), a semi-famous, now apparently retired, bisexual porn actor, who molests him on the street after having known Gary for maybe two minutes. He immediately gets Gary a job on a phone sex line and is rewarded with some deep tongue kissing between the two (which proves to be the only sex that happens in the film, despite a video box that features XXX in great big graphics). Gary has to share Valentino with Mary Carmen (a way-over-the-top Salma Hayek), who is almost pathologically jealous. The three form sort of a REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE love triangle, set against a MIDNIGHT COWBOY aura of faux grittiness defined by suggested sexuality, destructive behavior and the mandatory battle with AIDS.

Just why both Gary and Mary Carmen are so insanely possessive of Valentino remains unclear. But it must have something to do with his skills as a porn star, because otherwise Valentino comes off as an exceedingly shallow, rather stupid, self-absorbed and self-destructive jerk. D'Onofrio, who has made a career of playing oddball, often repulsive, and usually aloof (though usually interesting) characters, brings no charm to Valentino whatsoever. He is not just a loser, he is probably even a bigger loser than Gary or Mary Carmen.

Despite the title, the film never gains any momentum and succeeds in going nowhere fast. Velocity is meaningless if not combined with a direction, something sorely missing here.
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Threeway goes No where
ApolloBoy1093 January 2000
Why does Gary love the loser Bi porno star with AIDS? Why does loser ex-waitres who is pregnant with the loser Bi porno star with AIDS love him? And why does she put up with Gary? What does the Velocity of Gary mean anyway? A slice of life? Perhaps. More likely you will find this trite film a seedy half-baked poetic play of a threeway without a background, cause or reason for us to care about these characters instead we are force fed fancy playwright words written solely for a pat ending we've seen a million times. And better.
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8/10
I'm surprised
gummitch-221 June 2002
I'm surprised this movie got so many bad reviews. I bought it because of Thomas Jane, but I ended up loving the whole movie. Sure Mr Jane adds new interesting definitions to the word "beauty", and his performance was incredibly good, showing us a quiet desperation. I wonder why do studios always cast good looking actors who cannot act their way out of a paper bag, while there *are* some good actors who are also very good looking. Who knows? Anyway, the movie was good, I didn't understand much of the title, but I loved the dark humor (the death of the deaf transvestite) and the depth of the feelings portrayed. It's not a movie for everyone, I understand not many persons will enjoy it, but if you like odd love stories, it's your film.
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7/10
I kept thinking I didn't like it... I kept checking it out again
profsportster30 March 2008
What am I to write about this film? Vincent D'Onofrio is one of the most bizarre actors to cross the screen, for my money. He plays a role that garners no sympathy at all, but builds a character to whom I can't help but relate. Thomas Jane and Selma Hayek are the most undeveloped, hard-edged characters in the film and seem hardly correct in the triune that includes the likes of Valentino (Vincent D'Onofrio).

This is a seedy, unwashed film and I kept seeing things I hated in the first, second, and third times I watched it. And for some reason I keep watching it. The mixed sexual interactions are nauseating to me, and the shallow values of the principals presents them as flotsam, barely above hobo status and the sorts of souls to be found in any big city anywhere. But, they still "live," and ultimately force my attention to their pathetic and at once selfish and self destructive lives.
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9/10
Lovely, chaotic slice of real life and naive fantasy
CastleRockCutie14 June 2006
First: To ctimber@hotmail.com: "Why was an illness introduced so clumsily...?" Why, indeed? I'm sure the gay community asked that same question in the early eighties... Look, this is not a personal attack. It's just a reminder that "Gay Cancer"//GRID//HIV/AIDS did the same thing to the whole downtown scene in real life as it did in the movie. It introduced an ugly, horrific plague into what I call with sheerly complimentary intent, a magical fairyland. Now, fairyland is not without trolls, ogres, and nixies, not even without persistent, incurable poxes; or sores cured by sage, potion-wielding wizards and witches with long, white coats.

But when a plague like the ones that touch humans touches Fairyland, well, that's just about as scary as can be....
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Moving and involving
DB-08-DB4 July 2002
Dan Ireland's film The Velocity of Gary* (*Not his real name)is both moving and involving, painting a honest depiction of unconventional love in an almost abstract, fantastical way. I tracked this film down (not an easy task here in the UK) as a loyal follower of the great Thomas Jane and was not disappointed when I finally got to watch it. Jane plays Gary, a hustler in New York who falls under the loving wing of Valentino, an adult film actor played by Vincent D' Onofrio. Both have an immediate attraction to one another (sexual? paternal, in Valentino's case?) but things are complicated by the presence of Valentino's shrieking girlfriend Mary Carmen (Salma Hayek). A brutal yet genuinely loving emotional triangle is formed, then tragedy strikes as Valentino is diagnosed with AIDS. Adapted by James Still from his own one man play, this is raw, passionate stuff, and not to everyone's taste. But to those who want to taste something a little different, I highly recommend the picture. Two factors keep the interest throughout: 1) Jane. His performance is honest, brave and utterly believable. He has to be the best working young actor in American film at this point in time. 2) The films original score by Peitor Angell is as moving as its source material. The films theme (though it only appears during the opening credits and during a festival some time later) is a beautiful piece of film composition. This is an intimate little flick which, whilst never exactly 'feel-good', highlights the gift of life and making the most of it.
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10/10
Two Thumbs Up!
btricky365 March 2000
This film is mesmerizing, it takes you on a trip but doesn't try to shock. Keep in mind, there are difficulties in all relationships, unique or common. The jump in timeframes creates a nostalgia and familiarity with the characters. There is a definite over-sweeping romantic feeling that reminds us that this is fantasy and that there is nothing wrong with fantasy, only that Life has a way of waking us up sometimes. it is erotic, emotional, hilarious, and all around, definitely worthwhile. Vincent D'Onofrio is incredibly sexy with his Jim Morrison swagger, and Thomas Jane(Gary) plays a wonderful dichotomy of characters with his pre and post New York experience. There's a lot to laugh at even though the subject is serious. Two thumbs up!
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8/10
Sexual and sensual...
Oreste28 October 1999
I liked this movie. I liked it's simplicity, it's elegance and it's maturity. Very sensual scenes that show the strong feelings that drive characters in their love, in their desire. A movie about energy, about love between two individual, no matter what sex, a movie about death.
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10/10
This is a great interpretation of the confusion that comes with love alone let alone bi-sexual and gay love.
rothschl5 July 2000
This is a great interpretation of the confusion and passion that comes with love itself let alone gay and bi-sexual love. It was really interesting to watch and sparked a lot of curiosity. I enjoyed it alot. I wish there was a soundtrack!
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6/10
To be seen more than twice
marcosaguado17 March 2004
A writer/director that I admire very much, suggested that I should see Dan Ireland's movies. I first saw "Passionada" and I must confess I didn't get it. I thought that it was half cooked. Then I saw "The Whole Wide World" and I loved it! A true character study drawn with so much love that I felt compelled to see it again almost immediately. Now "The Velocity Of Gary" I saw it three times and on the third viewing I understood what lies beneath. Dan Ireland is a truly intriguing director, daring and unapologetic. Thomas Jane plays the sort of character we've never seen before on the screen. A character that goes through life without any protection, not just physical but emotional. On the third viewing, I wept. Now I'm going to see "Passionada" again. I'm sure I lost something on my first viewing. Dan Ireland, a director to be revisited.
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I was definitely disappointed!!!
kaos16172222 November 2000
I previewed this movie a while back and I think one reason why I really wanted to see this is because I saw it in the video store and thought I might want to see it. I previewed it and I just wasn't amused at all by this film! I thought maybe because Salma Hayek was in it, it would be somewhat decent but I was brutally wrong. Vincent D'Onofrio and Thomas Jane couldn't even handle this movie on their own. The only amusing character in the whole film was the Patsy Cline drag queen and he was deaf and hardly had any lines. Thomas Jane's character looked like he didn't give a rat's ass about anybody except Valentino (D'Onofrio's character). I think the movie is a waste of a lot of people's time when they could clearly be hitting the town but instead being put to sleep!
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