The Bye Bye Man
The Bye Bye Man is the kind of film that is so boring and bereft of anything of possible interest that it becomes infuriating.
In “Boulevard,” the late Robin Williams plays a man with a secret. His character, Nolan, has muted this piece of his life for over a half-century, as assisted by suburban monotony and a peaceful marriage. His cubicle at the bank boxes him in during the day. At night, his wife (Kathy Baker) has a peaceful distance from his personal life, as they sleep in separate bedrooms. Even his best friend, Winston (Bob Odenkirk), seems to be a good one, but not someone that pays close enough attention to truly understand his friend's life.
"Boulevard" is a movie about choosing truth, regardless of how many years may have been lost to a lie. The catalyst for Nolan's choice is his father's cardiac arrest. After leaving the hospital, Nolan drives down a shadier street of town, and picks up a young male prostitute named Leo (Roberto Aguire). They go to a motel, but Nolan isn't paying for anything sexual; he just wants to talk, to interact with someone that might listen.
The two continue to see each other, of which Nolan is insistent upon paying for his time. Nolan isn’t clear about his intentions, which alarms Leo, but he isn’t malicious about them. Talking to Leo makes Nolan happy, as does the idea of taking care of him. Nolan wants a true connection with a human being. As Nolan spends more time sneaking out to see Leo, the charade of his public life begins to unravel.
Williams and director Dito Montiel are in tune with a pervading sense of tenderness, as the movie distinctly ruminates on connection, not love. Writer Douglas Soesbe does something that's nothing short of miraculous with the presentation of its secret, by stripping it of its sensationalism, and showing how big a deal it is despite the smallness of Nolan's character. The dialogue within Nolan's moments of accepting himself provides for revelatory scenes, especially the spacious conversation between him and his wife, as she expresses her awareness of the situation, but her own resistance to see it change. Montiel's usual dramatic instincts, to go big and brash, are aptly muffled for the most part, except for the couple moments of false intensity involving Leo's abusive pimp Eddie (Giles Matthey).