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Totally F***ed Up. F***ed up Edition [DVD]
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From cinema's maestro of indie queer pop cinema, welcome to Gregg Araki's messed-up world, a concrete jungle teeming with teenage lust, abundant drugs and all-out infidelity. Before Kaboom, Mysterious Skin and The Living End, there was TOTALLY F***ED UP.
A film for anyone who has grown up gay and lived through the pain of alienation, this self-consciously cool story of the gay teen underground is New Queer Cinema at its edgiest a humorous yet moving study of an unwanted generation.
Totally f***ing brilliant --Gay Times
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For me, the most arresting to one's attention among the pairs of gay boyfriends and "hook-ups" in the film is that of Andy and Ian, played, respectively, by James Duval (looking quite different here as than he had as sweet but dopey character, Jordan White, in "The Doom Generation", part 2 of Araki's trilogy) and Alan Boyce. They are surely the best-looking young dudes in the movie, as well, and their gay relationship generates a lot of romantic and sexual heat, although there is little bare skin visible in their scenes together (and only two quick glimpses of full frontal male nudity in the entire film, so far as I noticed). Their love gives some temporary meaning to Andy's life. When Ian disappoints him and the two fail to connect by telephone at a critical moment when Andy, who has found little worth in living apart from this relationship, goes into deep anguish and commits suicide, the viewer really cares (or should do so) about the fate of these two young men. Fixing one's attention on their scenes (the most enjoyable and sexy in the film, anyway) can make some narrative sense of at least their parts of the movie, then, on reviewing, the rest, the action and the other characters, falls more easily into place.
I purchased "Totally F(uck)ed up" in order to complete the trilogy, of which this film is the least satisfactory segment. However, once I got my bearings in the confusing mish-mash of "Totally F(uck)ed up", I really did come to enjoy it.
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 comi-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 questions 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 Mysterious Skin [DVD] and Kaboom Kaboom [DVD]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 D*ldo'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' Taxi Zum Klo [DVD]and /or `Nighthawks',Nighthawks/Strip Jack Naked - Nighthawks 2 [DVD]  I am sure you will enjoy them too.
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