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Totally F***ed Up [1994] [DVD]

4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Directors: Gregg Araki
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Millivres
  • DVD Release Date: 1 Nov. 2004
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000621PAG
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 157,313 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Greg Araki's hard-hitting film about six gay teenagers trying to keep it together in the face of AIDS, homophobia, gaybashing and infidelity. The friends rely on each other for support, sex, drugs and artificical insemination.

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kurt Clare on 24 April 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"Totally F***ed Up" is not a movie for everyone, and rather for those who are interested in an insightful yet jarring personal analysis of the disenfranchisement of our youth. In fact, I suspect that many a young man and women will witness with this movie to the point of empathy, as it angst will reflect and mimic their own. Fraught with teenage anxiety and fear, the movie jars the senses forcing one to see the damage inflicted upon our young men and women, by a society either unwilling or incapable of intervening on their behalf. Despite its original date of 1993/4, the story has lost none of its relevance, especially after 2010 having seen an unprecedented number of gay young men and women committing suicide. Whilst suicide is not a central theme to the story, it opens and ends with such, almost as if the message of consequence needs to be re-emphasised for the audience. We are after all beneficiaries of such consequence, if not participants through our apathy and omissions.

Greg Araki can be described as a modern seer for this genre, and his movies (of which there are several) have become somewhat prophetic and revealing. His call to action which loudly pronounces itself throughout this film, is a pronouncement that if nothing is done to save this generation, then we are all nothing more than purveyors of its destruction. Indeed "Totally F***ed Up" shows a generation in decline, caught up in a pervasive nihilism that rejects the normative 'order', finding identity in their peers and temporary fixation with carnal gratification. Sex is tool, used in the manipulation of others, and the mere satisfaction of self.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Son of Nietzsche on 1 May 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I'm a huge fan of Gregg Araki's work (The Living End, Mysterious Skin) but freely acknowledge that it is not for everyone. The brief Amazon synopsis has the potential to mislead, since it describes this film as 'the tale of six gay teenagers in LA'. This is not a 'Broken Hearts Club' or a gay 'Sex and the City'; it's not even a teen angst coming-out movie. Rather, it is a bleak portrayal of the disenfranchisement of an unwanted generation. 'Totally F***ed Up' is actually the third in a trilogy (The Doom Generation, Nowhere) in which Gregg Araki is highlighting the nihilism and decline of American youth. Each of the trilogy can be viewed as a stand-alone film, since there is no continuation of characters or storylines; the commonality comes from the exploration of the central themes: ostracism from society, HIV, homophobia, persecution, suicide and despair.

'Totally F***ed Up' is the most mainstream of this trilogy. There is the usual eye-catching assortment of characters roaming around in the background: crazy homeless women, BDSM couples, etc. but it is certainly less surreal than, say, Nowhere. The film takes the form of '15 random celluloid fragments' in the day-to-day lives of six gay teenagers, interspersed with occasional messages to the viewer ("Can this world really be as sad as it seems?"). It is filmed in part documentary-style - one character interviews the others about their feelings regarding society, love, sex etc, because he wants to "show the way things really are"). In between these interviews we observe aspects of their daily lives: taking drugs, anonymous sexual encounters, homophobic attacks, infidelity, fights with the family. Hence this is not a fictional story, but a caustic portrayal of reality.
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i love this film. i had it on vhs and watched it at least once a week all through my late teens, something in it or about it really got to me, it's pretty raw and thats not somethiing you saw in alot of films back then.
the one really sad thing about the dvd copy is that it isn't the best quality, infact i'd say my old VHS copy, even after all the plays it's had, still has better image quality. I really hope Gregg Araki takes on a re-master of this like he did with The Living End
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3 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ben Whitehouse VINE VOICE on 6 Mar. 2008
Format: DVD
What a stinker! Badly made, badly written, badly acted. A shocker but not in a good way!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 11 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
The Seeds of Gregg Araki's Genius 18 Nov. 2005
By Grady Harp - Published on
Format: DVD
Tracing the progress of innovative filmmakers is a pleasure for movie buffs. Gregg Araki developed a unique voice in film in the early 1990s (this film dates back to 1993), a voice that maintained a sense of immediacy with his actors who he directed with his hand held camera in a manner that gave the illusion that the 'script' was extemporaneous. Careful not to assign controversial roles to inadequate talent, Araki gathered a group of young actors and pulled the very best from them. Many of these early actors still maintain presence in Araki's prolific flow of films.

As is so often the case with Araki's stories, TOTALLY F***ED UP deals with gay sensibilities in a way that displays the entire spectrum of positive and negative response to his characters. He does not preach: he simply voyeuristically reveals lifestyles as though he were a hidden personage who just happened to fall into private moments and turbulent emotions. In this film Araki divides the examination of six teenage gay kids (four boys and two girls) into 15 dialogues, each representing an aspect of what faces his characters and how they cope with being on the fringe. The 15 episodes are related because the characters remain the same and it is this unique manner of making his story that has continued to be a trait of Araki's later, more linear films.

We meet each of the six characters in an interview situation, with only the minimal amount dialogue conveying the maximum amount of information. The primary character is Andy (a superlative James Duval) whose view of life is bleak to say the least: Andy doesn't believe in love, in commitment, believes he is bisexual even though he has never stepped out of his same-sex playing out, grows to depend on his friends, falls in love with a sweet talking fellow Ian (Alan Boyce) only to discover Ian is not at all monogamous, and finally feels the pain of heartbreak and makes a decision about life that ends the film. The other characters include Michele (Susan Behshid) and Patricia (Jenee Gill) who are lesbian lovers and stable figures for the boys, desiring to have children and a wholesome life without the need for male penetration!; Steven (Gilbert Luna) and Deric (Lance May) who are coupled but come apart when Steven has an affair and Deric is gay-bashed; and Tommy (Roko Belic), the one who falls in love too easily with every one night stand he has.

The episodes deal with the characters' sexual attitudes, AIDS, life on the streets, drugs, parental alienation, loneliness, abuse, suicide, and the desperate need for extended family. With Araki's technique we come to care strongly for each of these disparate kids: by the end of the film they feel like close personal friends of ours.

The filming technique is choppy and slips out of focus and seems to idle like a malfunctioning engine at times, but in Araki's sensitive hands these aspects add to the tension of the story. Clearly Gregg Araki is a gifted artist, and his films subsequent to this successful one serve to prove his growth and increased power of heart to heart communication. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, November 05
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Love Duval 29 Sept. 2005
By Jose A. Plaza Ferra - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Another crazy, sexy and funny movie from the terrible Araki. The only thing that was not really good about the DVD is that it doesn't have any subtitles. You can enter the mind of these youths and take a look at the homosexual feelings they share..the first love, sex and commitmment. And James Duval is adorable!!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
What A Movie 29 Mar. 2009
By Gregory P. Washington - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a very provocative look at gay teens in America. It is very detailed and to the point but reflects reality to a degree for many. If anyone has a negative preconception of gay teens, this just may change minds and hopefully atitude.. Great movie.
Teenage Apocalypse Trilogy 5 Oct. 2011
By Arcadio Bolaños - Published on
Format: DVD
Gregg Araki is a well known director for his controversial take on youth and homosexuality. There seems to be, however, a certain thematic present in most of his movies. "Totally F***ed Up", along with The Doom Generation and Nowhere, is part of what one might denominate the James Duval Era or as the director has named it: "Teenage Apocalypse Trilogy". In these movies, the actor interprets different versions of the same character: a confused young man exploring his sexuality and trying to find his place in the world. It may sound predictable, but when one is in front of a Gregg Araki's production nothing is predictable.

It would be unfair to claim that James Duval's character is the protagonist, certainly "Totally F***ed Up" is planned and executed as a polyphonic and multivalent narrative, and from the very beginning it showcases a cast of young people sharing their voices and thoughts with the spectator. They're all main characters, and that's part of the film's charm. Polyphony, as literary critic Bakhtin would explain it, implies a diversity of point of views and voices, there is not a unique vision but multiple visions. This goes beyond a simple angle change or a reinterpretation of an act from another character's perspective. Bakhtin said that no human voice could exist in itself, that in order for one human voice to exist other voices (dozens or thousands, the amount doesn't alter the equation) would be indispensable. According to his conception, truth is not what most people agree on, but rather a set of affirmations subtly linked with one another, even if sometimes they would appear to harbor contradictions or inconsistencies.

It is in this sense that "Totally F***ed Up" is a polyphonic story. It entangles and exploits the lives of gay and lesbian teenagers. It merges conflict, sexuality and teen angst in one solid narrative. At moments it may rely too much on experimental approaches, but it catches the attention of the viewer from the first image. And it's that first image that functions as the prophecy from the Oracle of Delphi in Greek tragedies. However a prediction of something that will only happen in the last minutes is only fitting in an scenario in which sometimes the characters act like chorus members in a classic Greek tragedy. The chorus was essential for Greek tragedy because it allowed spectators to become emotionally involved while at the same time remain intellectually separated and removed from the theatric reenactment. The chorus is the one voice, pronounced by many, that tells the spectator when to shed a tear or when to sigh in relief, it accompanies the cathartic process but gives full power to the spectator, allowing him to disconnect himself at any time.

These young homosexuals live in constant frustration. Whether it is the impossibility of the lesbian couple to raise a child together, or the impending cheating that shatters the gay couple, or the father's prejudice that ends up in the expulsion of his own son, or the inability of young Andy (James Duval) to define what it is he wants. Because, after all, Andy is not only struggling against his own insecurities and fears, he is also fighting against the structures, against what Lacan would call "reality"; it's perfectly understandable, then, that the ugliness of the Lacanian "real" should erupt in Andy's life. Classic Psychoanalytic theory used to say that homosexuality was the symbolic death of the individual, that due to the wrongfulness of their sexuality, homosexuals were dead in the eyes of society, and forever condemned to be outcasts. "Totally F***ed Up" is full of moments in which the spectator can contrast these kids experiences against the ideas and acts of other people, from the Southern politician that compares a gay pride to a march to hell, to the ads that insist AIDS is divine punishment, to the murderer of a gay man that says it's better to have one dead guy than one living gay, to the group of gay bashers that attack one of the main characters, etc.

It's all there, the chorus stratagem that reunites a Bakhtinian polyphonic truth and the frustration that comes from this traditional psychoanalytical accusation of symbolic death, that at last proves that one single man, one individual's fierce fight against reality, is not enough and can be sadly condemned to the grimmest fate.
"Fifteen Randon Celluloid Fragments" 11 Aug. 2011
By Tommy Dooley - Published on
Format: DVD
This does what it claims, it is fifteen sort of linked films, set in LA in the eighties. It is amongst the first groundbreaking, `tell it like it is,' real life, gay pieces of cinema. It chooses as its subjects a mixed bag of troubled teens, and starts off with them talking about the high rate of suicide in teenage gays and it is being encouraged by the likes of music by `The Cure' and more worryingly - `The Smiths'!

There are a number of pieces to camera using a variety of different cameras and therefore the quality jumps around even more than the narrative. The sound quality leaves a fair bit to be desired too and requires your full attention to ensure not missing anything.

It is quite dated in a really good way, for those that lived through the eighties, there will be so much here that you had forgotten, like the huge brick mobiles and dial up sex lines - excellent! There are loads of comic or even com-tragic moments; lets face it a scene based around two lesbians in a room full of `donor' gay guys and a turkey baster is fairly hard to categorize. Then there is teenage `street wisdom', like "love lasts as long as a squirt in the dark"..

There is a great piece where they discuss who is a fanciable screen god/star and their top three are Mel Gibson, Tom Cruise and Michael Stipe. In a very Bruce La Bruce way there are lots of questions or statement flashed up on the screen, and this film does ask far more question than it ever set out to answer - that really is part of its hidden charm. That I feel was the intention of Director Gregg Araki (Mysterious Skin and Kaboom being two more well known later works) who shows as much of the film making process as what it results in.

This is a montage of films and that can be distracting as it acts as an alienation device from getting too close to the characters or the action. This is still an essential piece of cinema in the ever growing panoply of gay cinema and should be lauded for that. It will not be to everybody's taste and can be (rightly) accused of being too long, but there is enough here to keep you entertained. One of my favourites is going to a gig by the `legendary' `Kamikaze Dildo's'. It is also a massive trip down eighties memory lane, with AIDS as a spectre of doom hanging over seventies hedonism culture. If original and groundbreaking gay cinema is one of your things then you really ought to check out the fantastic `Taxi zum Klo' and /or `Nighthawks', I am sure you will enjoy them too.
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