L.I.E. (film)

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L.I.E. is a 2001 independent film about Howie played by Paul Franklin Dano, a 15-year-old boy and his friendship with a street hustler named Gary played by Billy Kay .The title is an acronym for the Long Island Expressway. The film was written by the renowned author and poet Stephen Ryder and directed by Michael Cuesta. Also featuring Brian Cox as Big John.


L.I.E. (Movie Poster)
Year Released: 2001
MPAA Rating (USA): NC-17
Director: Michael Cuesta
Starring: Paul Franklin Dano
Billy Kay
Brian Cox

Howie (Paul Franklin Dano) is a 15-year-old, who has been drifting ever since the death of his mother in an auto accident several years before. Howie's father Marty (Bruce Altman) is also having trouble dealing with the loss, and has become distant and self-involved. Howie's groups of friends are led by the streetwise Gary (Billy Kay). They pass their time engaging in high risk behavior such as breaking and entering. Howie is drawn to Gary and wonders if his feelings for him go beyond simple friendship. Gary persuades Howie to join him in robbing the home of Big John (Brian Cox) but they are caught in the act and narrowly escape, taking away with them several guns from Big John's prized collection. It doesn't take long for Big John to track down Howie and Gary. Howie learns that Big John and Gary have a secret. They have met before. Gary has a life he has hidden from Howie as a male prostitute, and Big John is a regular customer.

Big John confronts Gary and questions him about the break in. Gary reluctantly admits that he was there, but insists that Howie has his guns. The hunt is on. Big John approaches Howie at a restaurant, pretending that he knew his mother. Big John and Howie begin to develop a relationship. Big John offers Howie a ride home and then reveals that he is aware of his involvement in the theft of his guns and demands their return. Howie is able to retrieve one of the guns from Gary's bedroom and returns it to Big John. John insists that his other gun be returned to him or that he be paid for its loss. Howie offers to work off his debt to Big John. John asks Howie, "What does he have that is worth a thousand dollars?" and makes it clear that he is interested in a sexual relationship. Howie is both shocked and intrigued Gary breaks in to Howie's house and discovers a large stash of money that Howie's father has hidden in a drawer in his bedroom. Gary takes the money and departs for Los Angeles, leaving Howie abandoned and alone.

Howie's father catches Howie skipping school and in a heated argument strikes him. Latter Howie returns home to find that his father is gone. Thinking that his father has abandoned him, Howie takes refuges at the home of Big John. While exploring the house, Howie finds a stack of photos of Big John's former young lovers. Scott (Walter Masterson) who is Big John's current lover finds Howie looking at the photos and warns Howie not to try to take Big John away from him. Later that evening, Howie enters Big John's room wearing just his underwear expecting Big John to have sex with him. Big John explains to Howie that his father did not abandon him and was in fact in jail. He leaves Howie to sleep alone.

The following day, Big John takes Howie to visit his father at the jail. Howie's father pledges to be a better father. According to the author, the film concludes in the fashion of a Greek tragedy. Big John is shot dead by Scott. In the final scene, Howie stands on an overpass above the Long Island Expressway vowing that he won't let it take him too.

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