Vito (Joey Stefano) is a man in conflict. As a devout blue-collar Catholic, he’s deeply convicted to maintaining his gruff, proud masculinity but all he can think about all day long is stuffing his mouth and arse with other men’s’ cocks. As Vito drifts between action johns, gay bars and truck stops, his attraction to men begins to assert itself, and eventually, he has to confront his homosexuality.
More of a Man begins with Vito clutching a rosary, praying to be rid of all his “crazy thoughts” (about cock). God obviously isn’t listening, though, as Vito trots straight off to a cruisy bus station, where he sucks Michael Parks’ cock through a glory hole and then gets fucked as well. Cleaning up at the wash basins, Parks compliments Stefano on his hungry gay sex style, saying he thinks Stefano was “born to be fucked”. Outraged, Stefano decks Parks with a flying fist and some anti-gay platitudes before fleeing the scene in a fit of confused guilty rage.
Across town Duffy (Michael Henson) gives his lover, played by Butch Taylor, a session of man-ramming to celebrate their anniversary, then turns up to work, pulling beers at a gay bar where Vito has turned up in search of solace from drag queen friend Belle (Chi Chi La Rue). The sparks between Duffy and Vito are all-too-obvious, but sparks may fly on your remote control when LaRue lets fly with her first ghastly tune of the movie.
Nervous about his attraction for Duffy, Vito heads for the tattoo parlour where tattoo artist Rick Donovan claims he only does good ink work when he has a massive erection. Poor Vito, tempted anew, falls to the ground and sucks Donovan dry. Vito’s tattoo looks great, but he is so appalled by his oral hunger that he hurls a brick through the parlour window on his way out.
Stefano’s off-screen best friend Sharon Kane stars as the female prostitute Vito turns to in the hope of regenerating his hetero urges. She sucks him off with glee, but isn’t aware that all the while, Vito’s dreaming of Duffy. Finally, Vito and Duffy consummate their crush during a Gay Pride parade, where they fuck, kiss and make coo-coo talk inside a parade float.
When Duffy reaches for a condom in this scene, Vito growls that contraception is against his religion, but Duffy pouts that it isn’t against his, and defiantly places it on, while the unseen crowd of onlookers cheer their gay guts out from the streets. No problem whatsoever with preference for safe sex, but we have to wonder why Vito would endure such a tortuous inner journey only to end up inside a Gay Pride float while “It’s Raining Men” or some other such wilted gay anthem screeches on the PA system. He seemed happiest and most human in his toilet and tattoo parlour scenes, anyway. I would have preferred to see Vito continue to indulge his secret desires in all their surreptitious, self-destroying glory. Being gay and being happy about it has its place, but then so does being a blue collar Catholic who like a bit of occasional, secret cock. The two don’t necessarily have to come together, and this scene demonstrates that they are best left apart. Even Stefano himself was allegedly so bored during this scene that while Henson was dutifully fucking him for the camera, Stefano leaned back and asked the director if the lighting for the double penetration scene had worked.
Such a blatant injection of social-change preaching is death to the spirit of porn, which, as Quentin Crisp reminded us, only works, like horror films, when the real consequences are never shown. Ironically, if we project the film’s romantic finale into an imagined reality, and wonder what may have happened to Vito and Duffy next, we’re reminded that the West Hollywood-based Henson and Stefano (who were both HIV positive) died of heroin overdoses in 1992 and 1997, respectively, and that Lon Flexx died of AIDS in 1995.
Which really is the safer and happier path: finding fast-lane love with your gay bartender boyfriend and meth-ing it up on Gay Pride Week, or keeping your sexuality to yourself and blowing off steam from time to time at a truck stop?
MORE OF A MAN
Director: Jerry Douglas
Stars: Joey Stefano, Michael Henson, Chi Chi La Rue, Rick Donovan
Available on DVD - order here