Boys by Touchstone Home Video

Stacy Cochran's first film, My New Gun, ran about halfway through before I started getting into it--and even then I wasn't sure why. Who knew where she was going or what it all meant, but she had me. I'd fallen into the trap of thinking it was about the plot, when plot was just an excuse to explore characters and situations that were wonderfully quirky: not quirky in a broad, stylized way like Fargo, but quirky in an absurd and unmistakably real way--like life.

Cochran's sophomore film, Boys, is also firmly grounded in a peculiar sense of absurd realism, and it, too, draws you in just as effortlessly. It opens with the local sheriff interviewing Patty (Winona Ryder, in one of her less annoying performances) about a stolen car and a missing person. She then goes horseback riding, has an accident, and is discovered by some young boys from a nearby private school. John (Lukas Haas), already in danger of being expelled, takes her in, and the two spend some magical twilight hours together before reality sets in.

But like My New Gun, the plot isn't the best thing going on here. Cochran takes her time exploring the world she's created, finding fascinating moments in the bored, twisted relationships between John and his classmates, and in his youthful intoxication with this glamorous kindred spirit. Cochran's a filmmaker to watch, and thanks to video, you've got a second chance.

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