Every lost kid scrounging his living on the seamy streets of every big city has a personal tale of tragedy. In My Own Private Idaho (1991), director Gus Van Sant takes responsibility to give voice to the exploited, opportunistic tribes of uprooted, castoff youths, most of whom will never have their sorry stories told. A band of boy prostitutes prowls the overcast boulevards, back alleys, and squats of a Pacific Northwest downtown, aligning along crushes, friendships, and deeper, undefined attachments. These characters are driven by a yearning they can barely define; most of them have received so little good from life that they have only the vaguest notions of what a better existence might give. Still, simple acts of generous decency occur like miracles in the rough.
You’d think a movie detailing the life of boy prostitutes would be primed for steamy scenes of boys being naughty (Your own private Ida-yes!) but, don’t blink, otherwise you’ll miss the sparse few sexy seconds of this River running through Keanu’s canyon. (Ida-noooooo!)