Thing I learned about Texas from Longhorns:
1: If there aren’t any women in the room, all Texan men will have a group wank together
2: If a Texan man isn’t included in the group wanks, he’ll start to feel shunned and will do his best to get an invite
3: While a Texan man will almost certainly be happy to let you give him a blow job or wank him off, your relationship will never be the same if you try and kiss him
4: If they’re not having a group wank, Texan men will find contrived reasons as to why at least one guy in the room should be naked
To be honest, that’s not all Longhorns is about, but I severely doubt that in Texas in 1982 young men were really getting naked in front of one another in quite the way depicted, although if they were, it does at least give some explanation as to why it takes main character Kevin so long to realise that he’s more queer than steer (which as we know from Full Metal Jacket, is all that comes from Texas). After all, if all men in early 80s Texas were really touching each other up like they do in Longhorns, it would be a bit confusing for anyone coming terms with their sexuality!
Kevin is at university and happily having group wanks with his friends (yes, I’m sure the amount of group wanking isn’t what we’re meant to take away the film, but they sure get up to a lot of it), but is completely convinced that while he likes to get his end away next to a boy, he’s actually 100% Grade-A, straight boy. Then he meets the openly gay Caesar, and despite some initial difficulties and hostilities (particularly from Kevin’s homophobic friends), they’ve soon found some random excuses to get naked in front of one another and have started a fledgling, secret relationship. Slightly confused about what he’s doing, Kevin heads off to see some old friends, which involves plenty more group wanking, and the realisation that while some straight men don’t mind another man’s hands on their bits, Kevin actually wants some man-on-man-emotion behind it.
Longhorns isn’t a bad watch, but it is a pretty basic, rom-com coming out movie – or at least a coming out to yourself movie. There’s plenty that most gay men will be able to relate to (while simultaneously feeling jealous about the amount of group wanking), even if it doesn’t go very deep into the characters. It also appears that every male actor’s contract included a clause that they had to get their cock out once, which does ensure there’s plenty of man bits on display (it’s literally one full frontal nude scene for every male actor), even if the movie has to invent some rather unbelievable situations to get people’s kit off.
The acting is passable although not exactly brilliant, and at least ex-porn star Dylan Vox’s acting has improved since he was in Dante’s Cove, as he puts in a fun performance as Kevin’s clothes-averse friend. However nobody pulls you very deep inside their character, which is partly due to the acting and partly down to the script, which never gets beyond the basics. Indeed at times it’s difficult not to feel the whole film was put together with one eye squarely on what sells in gay cinema rather than getting to the absolute heart of the story. It’s certainly not bad, and it makes for a passable 90 minutes, but after the credits have rolled, you’re unlikely to ever think about it again.
Overall Verdict: Longhorns isn’t anything special, and some of it is rather cheesy, but it’s a good natured romp, with plenty of sex and nudity, and a decent sense of humour.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac