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"STAR MAPS"
(1997) (Douglas Spain, Efrain Figueroa) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Minor Minor Heavy Minor Minor
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
*Mild None Minor None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Extreme Minor Heavy Mild Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A young man turns tricks as male prostitute while trying to get his big break in Hollywood.
PLOT:
Carlos (DOUGLAS SPAIN) is a young man who returns to his family in Los Angeles after living in Mexico. Having done some regional theater there, Carlos is looking to make it big in Hollywood and hopes that his father, Pepe (EFRAIN FIGUEROA), might have some contacts for him. Pepe agrees, but only if Carlos will work for him selling maps to the stars' homes. That business is really a front for the male prostitution ring that Pepe runs, and Carlos agrees and gets his first lesson from Pepe's girlfriend, Letti (ANNETTE MURPHY). Of course Pepe is still married to Teresa, his wife of many years who's recovering from a nervous breakdown. He's also the father to Juancito (VINCENT CHANDLER), who's somewhat mentally impaired, and Maria (LYSA FLORES), who would leave home if she didn't feel compelled to take care of her mother. After servicing many clients, Pepe meets Jennifer (KANDEYCE JORDEN), a soap opera star who's unhappily married and finds Carlos fun and exciting. When she promises Carlos a small part in her show, Pepe tells his son that she's just using him and orders Carlos not to see her anymore. From that point on, Carlos must decide whether to side with his abusive father or with the glimmer of hope that the attractive actress is offering him.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Due to a no name cast and the basic plot, most children will probably skip this film.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For strong sexuality and language, and for violence.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • DOUGLAS SPAIN plays a young man who turns to male prostitution, servicing both men and women, in hopes that it will eventually lead to a break in Hollywood.
  • EFRAIN FIGUEROA plays an abusive, philandering father/husband who brings his teenage son into his prostitution ring and belittles everyone in his family.
  • LYSA FLORES plays Carlos' sister who feels compelled to watch over her ill mother and is a good role model.
  • KANDEYCE JORDEN plays an actress who uses prostitution to fill the needs her husband can't.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 5 out of 10
    A powerful, but disturbing film, "Star Maps" showcases some impressive performances but its subject matter will turn off most audience members before they set foot in line to buy tickets. Certainly not an uplifting tale, the film is similar to another movie from earlier this year, "Johns," that wasn't released in many markets. Equally as depressing, this film won't go far either and will make a quick run at the theaters due to the small number of people who will want to see it. While the film paints rather broad strokes about male prostitution and dysfunctional families, it does create a dramatic dilemma for the main character that carries the picture through its unsavory moments. Both Spain and Figueroa deliver good performances with the latter standing out in his role as the short-fused father. Of course some deeper digging into these characters' motivations would have made for a far more interesting film, but as it stands, it's passable and what's there moves the story along. While we understand why Carlos continues to turn tricks and we occasionally see the empty look in his face while doing so, some stronger motivation would have made his situation more concrete. The way it's presented here, one would expect him to run off with Jennifer from moment one, but for reasons that are weakly explored, he's scared enough of his father not to. The supporting cast is good as well, although again some more explanation would have helped, particularly concerning the mentally impaired brother and his bizarre behavior. That character fortunately does provide some lighter moments, and there are a few others that cut through the grim material, but the film makers wisely didn't add too much least the picture's message get muddled. And that message is that some people have really bad lives. We've always had a hard time giving films that are filled with depressing material, no matter how good they are, high ratings and that's the case here. "Star Maps" is a film you won't enjoy watching, although it's good enough to get our rating of 5 out of 10.
    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Definitely not a film for most kids, this movie features a great deal of sexual activity in both the hetero and homosexual varieties. Rather graphic encounters are presented, along with some nudity, movement and sexual sounds. Nearly 50 "f" words are heard, and there is some brief, but rough violence between the father and son. All of that only exemplifies the dysfunctional family and its many problems, including the mother killing herself to free her daughter from the family. Due to the harsh material, we strongly suggest that you examine the content should you or your children want to see this film.

    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • One of Pepe's clients has a cocktail.
  • Letti drinks a beer.
  • People drink in a bar with Pepe.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Pepe's face is a little bloody after being struck several times with a shovel.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Pepe has both toward Carlos in that not only does he tell him that he has no talent and will never make it as an actor, but he also "employs" his son into his male prostitution ring. He's also having an affair and later calls his daughter a "bitch."
  • Pepe lies to Letti, telling her that his wife is dying when in fact that isn't true.
  • Jennifer, who's married, has both as she has an affair with Carlos.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Some viewers may find scenes listed under "Violence" as also being tense.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handgun: Seen on a soap opera.
  • Handgun: Aimed at Pepe by a bartender to make Pepe stop fighting.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Smart ass," "Shut up," "Jump my bones," (sexual), "Horny," "Bitch" (toward a woman), "Balls" (testicles), "Screwing up," "Piss him off," "Whore," "Sucks," and "Idiot."
  • Teresa, feeling that she's keeping Maria at home, takes all of her medication pills at once and kills herself.
  • The young men in this movie are male prostitutes. While the odds of any kids turning to this are low, it does happen.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • There is just a minor amount in one or two scenes.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 49 "f" words (7 used sexually as is the verb "bone"), 9 "s" words, 3 slang terms for male genitals (the "d" and "c" words), 1 slang term using female genitals (the "c" word), 9 asses (5 used with "hole"), 2 hells, 1 crap, 1 S.O.B., and 1 use each of "Swear to God," "My God," "Jesus Christ" and "Jesus" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Pepe has sex with Letti outside and standing up against a wall. Sexual sounds are heard and sexual movement is seen.
  • Letti asks Carlos if he's been (had sex) with women and with men and Carlos answers yes to both. Letti then poses as an older man and removes her shirt. Carlos then grabs her and throws her to the bed, but nothing else happens (other than seeing her in her bra and underwear).
  • There's a montage showing Carlos having sex with men and women, and we see mainly kissing and caressing.
  • Carlos and Jennifer have sex and her bare breasts are seen as is sexual movement with him on top, her on top, and him behind her. Sexual sounds are also heard. Later, part of her bare butt is seen.
  • We see Carlos and Jennifer after they've had sex and we see her bare breasts for quite a while.
  • Carlos and Jennifer have sex again. He's seen between her legs (with her underwear around one) and there's more movement and sounds.
  • There's another brief scene with a man on top of Carlos having sex with him.
  • A couple hires Carlos and Jennifer to have sex in front of them. As they start to, the couple begin making out and taking off their clothes as well. We see Letti's bare breasts as Carlos gets on top of her, and we also see the other woman's breasts. It's implied that both couples have sex.
  • Juancito makes finger gestures symbolizing sex and then makes similar sounds and moves his body in front of Maria's date, Fred. Pepe then comes home and tells Fred that Maria is probably still a virgin.
  • SMOKING
  • People smoke in the backgrounds of certain scenes.
  • A woman in bed with Carlos smokes.
  • A security guard smokes.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Maria's family is the definition of a dysfunctional unit. Her father runs a male prostitution ring, is abusive and is having an affair. Her brother works in that ring and both her mother and other brother have mental problems. Not surprisingly, the family doesn't get along great with each other.
  • Pepe and Carlos come to blows over their father/son relationship and Carlos often sees memories/flashbacks of his father even being abusive when Carlos was a child.
  • Carlos' mother has had a mental breakdown and is still a bit off kilter.
  • Juancito watches his mother dying on the bedroom floor and then gets up and leaves. Later, Maria finds her dead mother.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Dysfunctional families.
  • Prostitution and using it to make money.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Letti grabs Carlos by the ear, slightly hurting him as she explains the world of prostitution.
  • Letti smacks Carlos when he comes on to her too forcibly before having sex in front of another couple.
  • Letti smacks Pepe after she learns that he's been lying to her. He then follows her inside a bar and strikes her several times. Carlos tries to defend her, but Pepe pushes him across the room and then kicks Letti. It ends when the bartender holds a gun on Pepe.
  • Fred, offended at what Pepe has said about Maria, pushes him backwards. Pepe then punches Fred.
  • Teresa, feeling that she's keeping Maria at home, takes all of her medication pills at once and kills herself.
  • Carlos, fed up with his father's interference in his life, punches Pepe who then punches him back. They then get into a fight where Pepe kicks Carlos in the face and then hits him in the gut with a shovel. Carlos finally gets the shovel and repeatedly strikes his father on the face.



  • Reviewed August 15, 1997

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