Saturday, May 9, 2015

1992 The Living End

Craig Gilmore (left) and Mike Dytri in The Living End
There are days when it feels like everyone who I encounter is trying their best to make me angry, upset or disillusioned with getting to payday.  These are definitely "glass is half empty" days at work.  But let's forget about everyday insults and indignities...For courageous folks back in 1992, the time had arrived to come out fighting against a world that oftentimes spewed hatred and violence at gay men in ways that were horrifically being endorsed by large swaths of "civilized" societies around the world.   The AIDS epidemic and hysteria/discrimination against gay men had reached the point where socially active people were pushing back.   

This brings us to Gregg Araki’s  film The Living End.  Life is happening all around two HIV-positive gay men and they decide to be more than victims of rules and stigmas in an AIDS homophobic world.  It has been compared to a gay Thelma & Louise.   Luke kills a homophobic police officer and the two men head on out for a road trip with the motto "Fuck everything."  It’s an emotionally-raw movie with indie production values that only add to the message being delivered on screen. The most controversial scene is when Luke convinces Jon to have sex without a condom in the shower.  In 1993 Philadelphia would also be released, but this gritty little film came out first about fighting back.  The Living End was nominated for a Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 1992.  Rolling Stone's Peter Travers found The Living End a "savagely funny, sexy and grieving cry" made more heart-rending by "Hollywood's gutless fear of AIDS movies"

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