Like Strand Releasing's previous two collections of gay short films, Boys Life 3 suffers from quality-control issues. One amazing short and one very good one are paired with two so-so outings and one that's just execrable. The bad one, of course, is the longest of the bunch: Jason Gould's naval-gazing exercise in celebrity-kid self-pity, which finds the son of "Babs" baring more of his behind than of his soul as he goes for goofy humor and earnest self-reflection and ends up with one-note jokes and embarrassing self-indulgence. $30 features another celebrity connection, but the only folks who will catch it are the ones who notice that star Sara Gilbert and writer Christopher Landon share their last names with Little House on the Prairie stars Melissa Gilbert and Michael Landon. Such Hollywood trivia aside, 30 actually tells a sweet, grave little story that's as familiar as it is well acted (by Gilbert and Erik MacArthur) and sensitively filmed (by director Gregory Cooke). The best entry, however, belongs to French filmmaker David Fourier, whose abstract approach to the subject of AIDS makes this well-worn tragedy freshly harrowing and tartly comic at the same time. The two remaining efforts are the fair to middling ones, both of which involve serious sexual tension. Hitch is the collection's most self-consciously stylish entry, but writer/director Bradley Rust Gray's frustratingly arty camera movements and overlong segues overpower both his pretty boy protagonists (Drew Wood and Jason Herman) and his sexily atmospheric script. The slicker, more straightforward Just One Time offers an elaborate set-up for a rather slight punch line, but writer/director/producer Lane Janger did use the same cast (Joelle Carter, Jennifer Esposito, and Guillermo Diaz) to far better effect in the feature-length romantic comedy of the same name. Ultimately, such exposure of fresh talent -- even in the rough -- makes mixed-bag efforts like Boys Life 3 worth the effort.