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Totally F***ed Up
1993 - unrated - 78 Mins.
Director: Gregg Araki
Producer: Andrea Sperling and Gregg Araki
Written By: Gregg Araki
Starring: James Duval, Roko Belic, Susan Behshid, Jenee Gill and Gilbert Luna
Review by: Bill King
   
Where do I start? Gregg Araki's "Totally F***ed Up" is one of the most pretentious, misleading, boring and manipulative movies ever released. It's supposed to paint a portrait of likable, alienated gay teens in Los Angeles. Instead, Araki uses the film as a springboard for wrong-headed ideas and ugly imagery. He's either too afraid to say what's really on his mind, or unwilling to educate the audience on gay sensibilities.

Araki divides the film into 15 different vignettes, none of which differ much, and shoots his movie in documentary form. His homosexual characters speak their minds on sex, relationships, straights and whatever else is on their minds, and these scenes are intercut with these same characters wandering around L.A. If these characters actually believe some of the things they say, then nobody with a healthy state of mind would want to hang around them. For example, one character says all the bad people are having babies, while the cool people aren't. Wait a minute. There are plenty of good people having babies. Was this a subtle implication that bad people are straight, while cool people are gay? If so, that's a load of crap. If not, then how are we to care about someone who would hold such a lame opinion?

The "story" settles around Andy (James Duval) and a few of his buddies. When the characters aren't speaking into the camera, they wander around aimlessly and talk gibberish. They hang out at home, in town or by a swimming pool. What do they accomplish? Nothing. They're just there. What they talk about isn't one bit interesting. They provide no insight into their lifestyle and how they deal with their situation. Are they frustrated? Angry? Satisfied? Who knows? Araki hasn't provided any decent dialogue, and the actors are unable to dish out an even passable performance. Perhaps Araki was trying to illustrate the day-to-day drudgeries of his characters. They have nothing to look forward to, nowhere to go, but there are ways to convey these ideas without boring the audience.

If Araki was trying to paint homosexuals in a positive light, he failed miserably. Putting the slimy dialogue aside, we are treated to a dominatrix walking another person by a leash. Do Andy and his friends act like such behavior is normal? You bet. In one segment, Andy discusses how anal sex repulses him. The next shot is of two guys watching gay porn. A lesbian hates men because she wouldn't like being "poked." A title card provides us with the definition of masturbation. According to Araki, and according to this affectionate project, gays are perverted individuals. This movie is saturated with sleaze.

Araki opens the movie with a newspaper article stating that a high number of gays commit suicide. He makes no attempt to weave any reason into the narrative. If a director is going to begin his movie with a fact like that, then his job should be to give us a good understanding of why.

Araki's method of creating disillusioned youth is something beyond his grasp. "Totally F***ed Up" is the first of his "Teen Apocalypse Trilogy." The second is 1995's "The Doom Generation," which is much better than this effort, but still uninformative. The third entry is "Nowhere," which is just as aimless as "Totally F***ed Up," but not as cheap looking.

It is possible for a writer to put out wonderful dialogue amidst little on-screen action. Richard Linklater is among the best. "subUrbia" (1997) is also about bored, clueless teens. Linklater understood completely how his characters felt. Araki's style is much like the characters he presents. Dull, sickening, unpleasant and full of bull***t.
 
Movie Guru Rating
Offensive and completely without value.  Should never have been released.
  0 out of 5 stars

 
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