by Sawyer J. Lahr
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Anderson’s Cross is like American Pie with morals. It’s a mature look at a coming of age story through the eyes of a hot to trot bisexual teen, Nick Anderson. Writer, director, and lead actor, Jerome Scott (Lethal Weapon 4, Freaks and Geeks, Charlie’s Angels, She’s All That, American Pie, Whatever it Takes) boldly risks being too honest with his portrayal of teenage sexuality and friendship. Scott plays Nick, a confused young adult who sleeps with everything that moves. If Nick is certain about anything, it’s that he likes boys and girls. He watches his best friends Kevin Daniels (Nicholas Downs, Pearl Harbor, The Girl Next Door, Constantine and The Holiday) and Tracy Green (Heather Bergdahl, 7-teen Sips, V-town and Dancing in the Shadows) get it on regularly while recording the time it takes for Kevin to have an orgasm.
Nick’s family is all about love, and it’s obviously rubbed off on him. He is a hypersensitive teen always there to help his friend Kevin deal with his alcoholic father’s physical abuse while he keeps secrets of his own. You might think Kevin is too affectionate with Nick sometimes. They sleep on top of each other in bed. Kevin graces Nick’s curly hair with his fingers — not your average straight guy.
Nick’s parents played by Michael Warren and Joyce Guy aren’t very average either. Their all-accepting love is an example to other parents. Mr. and Mrs. Anderson don’t pretend their son isn’t sexually active, and would rather he have safe sex in their house than sneak around hiding it. Why stop the inevitable says Nick’s father.
As if Nick could get any more lucky, he gets hit on by a cute gay student, Trevor McCarthy (Micah Stuart, Malcom in the Middle, Boston Public, Freaks and Geeks). This just after Nick made out with Trevor’s “slutty” step-mom married to closeted gay Coach McCarthy who’s getting serviced by one of his jocks. Things go wrong when Kevin gets sent to a rehab facility, Coach McCarthy is arrested, and an accident threatens to break up Nick’s idyllic family life. As high school comes to an end, Nick has to make a tough decision to take the road less travelled.
Cross is equal parts family drama and coming of age film. High production values and acute direction from a promising director gave this film the polish it needed to earn Best Feature at the Atlanta Independent Black Film Festival and Bridgetown Film Festival. Garnering official selection at San Francisco Black Film Festival and Hollywood Black Film Festival, Scott and his production company Illumination Pictures have definite staying power.
Sawyer J. Lahr is Chief Editor of the forthcoming online publication, Go Over the Rainbow. He also writes a monthly film column for Mindful Metropolis, a conscious living magazine in Chicago, IL.
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