WILD TIGERS I HAVE KNOWN
© 2007 by C.E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.
L to R: Max Paradise as Joey and
Malcolm Stumpf as Logan in
Wild Tigers I Have Known

© 2000 IFC First Take

WILD TIGERS I HAVE KNOWN, which was
Sundance Institute, marks the feature debut of
Cam Archer. The movie was executive produced
by Gus Van Sant, whose output obviously was    
 an influence on the neophyte filmmaker, and
Scott Rudin.

Not unlike
THE BLOSSOMING OF MAXIMO
OLIVEROS, WILD TIGERS I HAVE KNOWN
centers on the first crush of a gay teenager.
Archer attempts to create a visual equivalent of
the moody world that its central character
experiences. Logan (Malcolm Stumpf) is a loner
and an outcast who hangs out with the
like-minded Joey (Max Paradise). But whereas
Joey is attempting to figure out how to become
popular and land a girlfriend, Logan is more
interested in one particular boy -- the slightly
older Rodeo Walker (Patrick White). To me
watching the film was like seeing a queer
remake of the cult television show
My So-Called
Life
, with Stumpf's Logan in the place of Clare
Danes' Angela and White's Rodeo as the
equivalent of Jared Leto's Jordan Catelano. And
I don't necessarily mean that in a good way.

Archer does capture the pain and suffering that
one who is not a member of the "cool" group
goes through in junior high school and high
school. Clearly Logan is at that point in his life
where he is trying to formulate his persona. He
knows what he isn't, but he isn't sure just where
he belongs. His harried mother (Fairuza Balk,
wasted in a relatively thankless part) doesn't
really offer much support. His friend Joey is also
struggling with the same issues.

Because he is a novice filmmaker, Archer goes
overboard on the symbolism, and the
introduction of a female telephone persona for   
Logan (voiced by an adult actress) is a major
misstep. The film, though, does exhibit some
potential and there are a couple of lyrical
moments that do capture the difficulties of
puberty. Still, all and all, it doesn't really add up
to much, and this movie won't be to everyone's
tastes.

 
Rating:             C
Running time:   88 mins.