Entertainment » Movies

College Boys Live

by Kevin Taft
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Apr 27, 2010
College Boys Live

College Boys Live is a documentary about a "Web-Cam House" where young guys are on camera twenty four hours a day to a paying public of worldwide voyeurs. This seems almost comical.

Isn't it then, a documentary about a documentary? The film dives into the actual house of College Boys Live (the website) where we witness the behind the scenes drama in a much clearer way than what subscribers are shown on a small, jittery computer screen window.

A bit of background: College Boys Live is a web site where paying subscribers can have access 24 hours a day to a house of a handful of young guys (none of them were in college, by the way) who agree to live their lives completely on camera.

Everything they do can be viewed (sex, showers, dinner), except toilet time. In exchange for living in the Florida suburban house for free, the boys must chat online with their "fans" for 2 hours a day, 5 days a week.

Although "not a porn site," the boys are required to be naked for the last 30 minutes of their daily chat sessions. What they do once they get naked is up to them.

Directed by George O'Donnell, the film introduces us to a handful of characters that make up the infamous house. Zac Adams is the vaguely creepy creator of the site and house-father to the boys whose ages range from 18 to early twenties. He is joined by young husband/co-manager Jonathan to help run the house and keep the kids in check regarding their online responsibilities.

As for the boys: all come from broken homes with a lot of unresolved issues. They come to the house for an escape and a much needed "family."

Standouts of the webcam boys include: JC, a highly dysfunctional kid who looks like he's on drugs most of the time even though the boys are supposedly drug-tested. Tim, a slight guy whose lack of self-esteem has made him bitter and smug and acts as if he was forced to live there. Then there's Charlie.

In a way, it’s sort of half-way house for troubled teens. If it weren’t for the nakedness, sex, and masturbation.

Charlie is a CBL subscriber who admittedly lived his life through the boys on the site and is refreshingly candid about it. Another one with esteem problems, he grew frustrated with the bars and not feeling like he was desired or accepted by the gay community, and suddenly found himself moving to Florida and becoming a regular visitor to the house. (Something he says was not planned. Mmm-hmmmm.)

He in turn falls for Tim who has no interest beyond a friendship. This causes drama later on.

In fact, as the film progresses, there's a lot of drama. While it all seems kind of weird at first - young fragile twinks are brought in to live with an older guy in a fancy house as long as they get naked on camera - it's also startlingly benign.

The boys are given chores to do, they make sure the pristine yard is kept neat and clean, and they all help cleaning up, doing laundry, and painting the rooms. In a way, it's sort of half-way house for troubled teens. If it weren't for the nakedness, sex, and masturbation.

Soon enough, Zac and the boys must battle a homeowner's association and are eventually forced to move. Don't shed any tears, because with the site making over $20,000 a month (yes, a month) Zac buys a gorgeous million dollar house on a lake.

The boys all move and set up shop. But this is when JC starts going out of control. After a tearful trip home, he returns more broken than before. And while he is constantly explaining how much the CBL boys are his family, he is consistently testing their bond. He lies, drinks, and gets increasingly violent, not only with the co-manager of the house, but with his then boyfriend who he beats to a pulp on camera.

Disturbing at times, the film is also a fascinating psychological study. What is really up with owner Zac Adams that he feels the need to exploit shirtless young boys while also providing them a safe home and more of a sense of direction than their disjointed families ever could?

Having left difficult lives, are these boys simply being abused albeit with a false sense of security? Is that security better than the abuse they might face in the homes they originally came from? And what is it about the subscribers of these sites that they feel the need to get involved in the lives of boys they don't know and never truly will?

There are no easy answers, but like "Big Brother" or "The Real World," it's a fascinating look into the lives of kids we might never have known or met. We might not want to spend much time with them, but just like the CBL subscribers, we become voyeurs too. We just don't have our hand down our pants while we watch.

Kevin Taft is a screenwriter/critic living in Los Angeles with an unnatural attachment to 'Star Wars' and the desire to be adopted by Steven Spielberg.


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