June 19, 2017 § Leave a comment
This is gonna be something and I’m not sure if this is related to my “lookback review” schtick or not but I am finally reviewing a Gregg Araki movie. I say this because back in September 2010, I reviewed Rian Johnson’s The Brothers Bloom and made a dumb pointless joke by saying that Mysterious Skin is about alien kidnapping which it kinda is but there is more to it than aliens. But given that I brought up that it’s a joke, I’m guessing this week’s review is a brick joke punchline of sorts.
And that punchline is a movie called 1997’s Nowhere which is gonna take much to explain about why I say it’s a punchline but first, about Gregg Araki. One of the pioneers of New Queer Cinema, he hit the scene in the 1980s and 1990s with films like Totally Fucked Up and The Doom Generation. Some say those movies are good but many others including Roger Ebert say “zero stars”. He still makes movies like Splendor (which I wish I could review for this month) and Kaboom (which won its first Queer Palm at Cannes Film Festival). I don’t know what else to say about him but whether his films are a hit or miss, he is a prominent filmmaker and an awesome guy to boot. Now, about Nowhere, how to explain this one?
Um, it involves Dark (James Duval) who’s a teenager thinking his life in Los Angeles is going nowhere (uh, I see what Araki did there). He is having relationship troubles with Mel (Rachel True) who’s being polyamorous and free unlike Dark while he also has a crush with his classmate Montgomery (Nathan Bexton). While he’s recording videos in a video artist kind of way, he is seeing things like an alien who zaps people into oblivion or abducting anybody in public sight. He along with his friends are also invited to a party hosted by Jujyfruit (Gibby Haynes) and uh, should I talk about his friends?
Because while it involves Dark in a main way, there are subplots left to right. Dark’s friend Cowboy (Guillermo Diaz) is having relationship issues with Bart (Jeremy Jordan) who’s addicted to drugs. Alyssa (Jordan Ladd) is having wild sexy times with Elvis (Thyme Lewis) while Elvis is having issue with drug dealer Handjob (Alan Boyce) which leads to Elvis beating Handjob to death in a party. Egg (Sarah Lassez) falls for an unnamed teen idol (Jaason Simmons) who he later turns out to be rapist who abused her. Mel’s brother Zero (Joshua Gibran Mayweather) wants to go to party with Zoe (Mena Suvari) despite being younger than them and so on and so on.
Yeah, this movie is filled with subplots and there’s even one I want to bring up but that one is not really connected to anything. Going back to Dark and he finds out Montgomery is abducted while Mel is getting laid in party (in front of anybody) by a group of twins which leads him to be depressed and go home but not after he witnessed Ducky (Scott Caan) trying to drown himself after hearing that Egg killed herself after watching an evangelist program hosted by Moses (John Ritter). Oh, and Bart also killed himself for watching the same thing.
And again, back to Dark’s story which is how the movie draws to a close. Montgomery escapes from the aliens and went to Dark to sleep in his bed which makes them both happy… that is until Montgomery’s body exploded with a cockroach-like alien appearing and leaving the room ending the movie with Dark screaming at the fact that some guy known as Donnie will kill him 28 days from now and now, I’m getting two movies confused with the fact that they both starred James Duval.
This movie is an ultimate example of being a time capsule to the point where the nineties is filled with anything that’s anarchic and nihilistic. While this is not the first kind of movie Gregg has done with that approach, it is the first movie of his I have seen many years ago and back then, I hated the movie. Nowadays, I can see why this is made and why it is his style at that time. It is part of his so-called “Teenage Apocalypse Trilogy” (or as I like to call it, “The Sexual Life Of James Duval Trilogy”) and this movie does touch upon the Apocalypse likeness especially from Alyssa who mentioned the world is set to end at that time but it didn’t so maybe he save it for his later movies (or a television pilot).
As for the bisexual relation of this, it is clear that it involves Dark who’s bisexual along with Mel and other characters and this is a clear depiction right down to the opening scene where he’s jerking off in a shower while dreaming about both Mel and Montgomery. For the casting, it’s good since it’s filled with stars that are relavant at that time even with cameos by the likes of Denise Richards and Shannen Doherty. It’s basically what you get if you put Teen Beat magazine on blender with drugs and it mixed up with fucked-up shit. There’s also soundtrack which is of its time and the aesthetics are like that as well.
So as long as you can handle a movie filled with subplots involving deranged versions of teenagers in Los Angeles scene, this movie is for you then and I did say I hate the movie back then but repeated viewings did change that and I saw other Gregg Araki movies since then so you have to understand by watching it more than once. Okay, I had gotten through a Gregg Araki movie and will get back to his filmography again in the future but now, I am set to look at a movie that’s not chaotic and that also includes a movie after that as well so until next time.