Featuring immaculate and at-times otherworldly cinematography by Hungarian master cinematographer László Kovács (Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces), A Day with the Boys oftentimes feels like a painting by German völkisch Symbolist artist Fidus come to life – except set in late-1960s America – due to its quasi-pagan Wandervogel-esque imagery. In a mere 18-minutes, this semi-surreal short does what feature-length films like Julie Darling (1983) and The Good Son (1993) could have only hoped to accomplish; depicting the human child as a cunning and conspiring killer. Part tribute to the ‘innocence’ of youth, as well as the loss of such childhood purity, and part portrayal of manic mass-mindedness, A Day with the Boys examines the collective unconscious at its most rudimentary and consequently savage level. The film begins innocently enough with a nameless pack of whippersnappers cavorting around just as all young bucks should – playing with cap-guns, flying high on playground swings, and rummaging around in nature’s soil and forests in an inquisitive manner – but things take a turn for the worse when the micro-commandos encounter the eternal enemy: a middle-aged businessman attired in a spiffy suit - a sad symbol of perpetually lost youth. As a mature adult, the seemingly jolly gentleman sees the boys menacing demeanor as nothing more than harmless adolescent posturing and he even allows them to lead him to the woods as if he was an enemy combatant being dragged to execution. Unfortunately for the unsuspecting businessman, the renegade runts have reverted towards instinctive, atavistic homicidal tendencies, thereupon inevitably resulting in the bewildered adult’s earthly demise via being buried alive; undoubtedly a hefty price to pay for a utter taste of momentarily reclaimed youthfulness.
Unquestionably, the most unnerving and ethically dubious scene in A Day with the Boys is not the penultimate sequence when it is revealed the boys are merry mass murderers, but during the concluding visual epilogue where it depicts the keen killer kids splashing around bare-skinned in the water for an extended period of time in slow-motion. Indeed, A Day with the Boys sometimes feels like a softcore pedo-piece disguised as exceedingly elegant coming-of-age cinematic art, so as to occlude any suspicions from more thoughtful and perceptive viewers. That being said, the exposed wild boys scene is just the pederastic icing on the cake of what is very arguably America's most artsy fartsy work of chickenhawk cinema. I do not think I am being delusional nor harsh in my judgement of the film as my girlfriend and a couple friends arrived at a similar assessment of A Day with the Boys that was totally uninfluenced and independent from my estimation of it. That being said, one could argue that the victimized businessman could be perceived as a prospective pedophile because just like all pathological sexual perverts, he sincerely believes the boys want him and is quite exhilarated by their attention; so much so that he allows himself to be smothered to death by dirt, even when the young pups' actions become increasingly negligent and positively precarious as their brief rendezvous progresses. Of course, only Clu Gulager knows the true motivation behind the film, but there is certainly a reason behind why A Day with the Boys – a work distributed by Universal Studios – is virtually unknown, even among seasoned cinephiles. Like American auteur Michael Cuesta's controversial coming-of-age films L.I.E. (2001) and 12 and Holding (2006), A Day with the Boys is a work foreordained to marginality due to its audacious artiness and beyond the pale subject matter that will only be appreciated by those fierce filmgoers mature enough to obstinately embrace it, as well as those more cultivated members of NAMBLA with cinephile proclivities.