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The Independent Critic

Del Shores
Emerson Collins
Del Shores
89 Mins.
QC Cinema/Breaking Glass Pictures

 "Del Shores: Sordid Confessions" on Midgets, Palins, Christians and More 
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If I ever meet Del Shores, I may have to hide my stumps.

The more I learn about Del Shores, especially from his stand-up comedy, the more I'm convinced we would either get along fabulously or I would completely piss him off.

Maybe both.

The follow-up to his QC Cinema release My Sordid Life, Sordid Confessions is an even more relentlessly honest and brutally funny Del Shores going completely apeshit on everything and everyone that pisses him off.

In case you're wondering, that's quite a few people.

Actually, what's pretty amazing is just how much of a nice guy Shores comes off as even when he's ripping on Bristol Palin, former "Queer as Folk" cast member Randy Harrison, Newt Gingrich, hypocritical Christians and quite a few more. Shores, the son of a Southern Baptist Preacher father and a drama teacher mother, is an acclaimed writer, director, producer, activist and comic whose career first took off with the 1987 play "Daddy's Dyin' (Who's Got the Will?)," which was turned into a 1990 film. Shores likely experienced his biggest success with the 1996 play "Sordid Lives," which became a 1999 film and a Logo TV series in 2008.

What is Logo TV anyway?

Shores has also penned the plays "Southern Baptist Sissies," "The Trials and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Housewife," and "Yellow," the latter which won him the Los Angeles Drama Critics Association Awards for Best Production and Best World Premiere. His newest film, Blues for Willadean, will be released in late 2012 and stars Oscar winner Octavia Spencer, Beth Grant, Dale Dickey, David Steen and Debby Holiday.

Shores is known as much for his endearing Southern charm as he is for his absolute willingness to say exactly what's on his mind. Fortunately for all of us, what's on his mind is always honest and always incredibly funny.

Sordid Confessions is an edgier one-man show than was My Sordid Life, which seemed to tap more into Shores' affection for his friends and his family while also maintaining a commitment to the truth and nothing but the truth. One can tell just by checking out the DVD cover of this latest production, which features Shores surrounded by two rather "blessed" young men in their underwear, that Shores is likely going to be a bit more, um, balls to the walls with this show.

At his edgiest, however, Shores is more funny than cruel though you can certainly tell that he means what he says when he's talking about the Palins, right-wing politicians, those hypocritical Christians and a few folks he's worked with along the way whom you can tell, really tell, haven't exactly left a positive impression.

Shores is also coming out of a long-term relationship in this film, a fact that may account for his more jaded side being let loose to have a lot of fun.

So then, why does this straight guy, double amputee (not a midget), Christian paraplegic pastor (NOT Southern Baptist) find Del Shores so completely amazing?

It's hard, really hard, I mean pendulously (Is that even a word?) hard to not completely adore a guy who can quote scripture better than most Christians and who's so completely committed to saying all the things that most of us keep inside. Shores is brutally and hilariously honest, but even as he's going what seems like stream-of-consciousness at times he's got this affectionate twinkle in his eyes and such a genuine spirit that you just can't stop laughing right along with him.

Having thoroughly enjoyed both My Sordid Life and Sordid Confessions, I do give a slight nod to the former, a more complete entertainment experience that had me simultaneously laughing, crying, giggling like a schoolboy and caught up in the world of Del Shores. In this film, it feels less like a journey into the world of Shores and more like your traditional stand-up comedy show (as it was). This film, as well, is technically just a notch below My Sordid Life, a relatively minor issue but a slightly noticeable one.

Minor issues aside, Sordid Confessions is likely a must see for fans of Del Shores as a comedian or a stage writer. Few comics/writers can so perfectly weave together heartfelt honesty with brutal yet brilliant comedy as can Shores, and Sordid Confessions is a terrific new DVD release from QC Cinema, the LGBT distribution arm of Breaking Glass Pictures. Street date on Sordid Confessions is September 25th, but you can pre-order now using the link to the left of this review.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic