VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: The Living End (1992) [Gregg Araki]

Clio: 2/5 stars, 4/10.
Carolyn: 2/5 stars, 5/10.
Native ratings: 3.0/5 stars Netflix, 6.2/10 IMDB.

This is the last remaining Gregg Araki movie that we had not seen, which I am still able to obtain. I still can’t get a hold of “The Long Weekend (O’Despair) (1989)” and “Three Bewildered People in the Night (1987)”. So we’ve seen 8 out of 10 [not counting his MTV pilot as a movie].

Unfortunately, this early Araki work is lacking the directorial, surreal/psychedelic flair that he developed later on in his career. Visual-wise, it’s not as “fun” as his later work. However, bonus points for a 3 KMFDM songs and a Chemlab song.

I think maybe he realized his movies were too dark, brooding, and dare I say boring — so he threw in a lot of quirkiness to lighten the load a little bit. A little sugar to coat the bitter pill. And it works. He’s become one of my top 15 directors, and my favorite gay director (though I find his sexuality irrelevant, it does explain the gay focus of many of his movies).

I really like most of his movies, and this is the order I like them in: Smiley Face, Kaboom, Splendor, The Doom Generation, Mysterious Skin, Nowhere, Totally Fucked Up, The Living End (this one). So yeah, I’m a bit disappointed, but I knew this would happen, because Totally Fucked Up wasn’t that great either.

These early movies are some of the bleakest, most nihilistic, despair-ridden shit I’ve ever seen.

Plotwise, an HIV+ gay guy meets another HIV+ gay drifter homeless guy who ends up getting into some trouble. So the homeless guy convinces the somewhat tame guy to go on the run together.
You’d think with being on the run, that something would happen. No. Not much really happens. This story isn’t even really about the journey. There’s just not much that happens. I fell asleep repeatedly because it was some of the most boring shit I’ve ever seen.

The tame gay guy had a female best friend, who worried about him, and as a result, she ignored/was bitchy with her boyfriend and his needs. I guess if tame guy wasn’t gay, then they’d be a couple, so she probably took it hard because of that… But she’s barely in any scenes, so no…. There’s no romantic angle with her. There’s really not much to this movie besides nihilistic despair.

I’d recommend this for Gregg Araki completists only. Proceed with extreme caution.

Castwise, none of the actors are really in anything significant, EXCEPT Daisy of “Fern & Daisy”, who’s been in a LOT of movies. I still don’t remember her. And the “Twist Master” was in a lot of stuff too. But yea. For the most part, this movie is lacking any significant cast.



VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Totally Fucked Up (1993)

Clint: 2/5 stars, 4.6/10.
Carolyn: 2.2/5 stars, 4.6/10.
Native ratings: 5.9/10 IMDB, 2.9/5 Netflix (guess for us=3.3, way too high).

I watched this in my quest to watch everything Gregg Araki has ever done; this is the 1st movie in the Teen Apocalypse Trilogy. Unfortunately, I consided this Arak’s worst film ever. It seemed like he had not fully formed his style yet, and things were very loose and sloppy. How the hell can people like this better than The Doom Generation, the 2nd movie in the trilogy, with a lower rating? I don’t know.

The whole gay teen suicide thing is quite tragic, but this movie didn’t really make me feel it. It seemed to just explore the situation (in Araki’s typical apocalyptic fashion) rather than tell a story… and we like stories. This would probably improve upon a 2nd viewing, but I don’t think I could ever bring myself to do that.

Carolyn adds: “There wasn’t much of an ending.. not too much of a plot either… just flailing about with not much going on… a few things happened, but the characters didn’t really come to terms with them…  and then it ended.. ”


TAGS: video, movies, reviews, TotallyFuckedUp, 1993, GreggAraki, Clint, Carolyn