[thechat] Re: Desert Island Stuff

judah at wiredotter.com judah at wiredotter.com
Mon Oct 29 18:10:39 CST 2001

At 08:45 PM 10/29/2001 +0000, Kevin wrote:
>Now, I am a huge Kevin Smith fan, but I thought Chasing Amy was one of the
>most horrible, spiteful films I have ever seen. Everyone is just so cruel to
>everyone else, it's awful, and yet I know several people who really rate
>this film over Clerks or Dogma. Care to enlighten me as to why you think
>this film is superior?

I'm not sure that I would call Chasing Amy "superior" to Clerks and Dogma, 
but I can tell you why I really enjoyed the film.  I thought that the film 
did a really good job of dealing with the intricacies of sexuality and 
relationships.  We have a main character (Holden) that is from all-american 
suburban new jersey, still lives and works with his life-long best friend, 
and is devoted to what most would consider a childish pastime (comic 
books).  By all accounts a sheltered life.  But he isn't presented as a 
rube or a nerd, he's just presented as a normal, fairly intelligent, 
reasonably open guy.  Then we have Alyssa, who is the prototypical femme 
lesbian, living in the city, surrounded by gay male and female friends 
(nary a straight person in sight), and toiling away at an underground 
'zine.  They get tossed together with Holden's trusty sidekick, Banky, and 
everyone's roles start to crumble.  No one finishes the film the same 
character they started it as.  Holden is torn apart by insecurities and a 
feeling of inadequacy, Alyssa reconnects with a life she swore off in high 
school and looses all her friends in the process, and Banky shows that he's 
not really a homophobe and that he cares about Holden a lot more than he 
would ever admit.  And its all very messy and real.  And, yes, occasionally 
spiteful and horrible.  But relationships are like that sometimes.

I also was very happy over the portrayal of gay/bi in the film.  Usually, 
when gay people are portrayed in films, being gay is the point of the 
film.  And I suppose that Alyssa's experience losing her friends by dating 
a man is certainly a point in this film.  But the main point of the film, I 
feel, was about relationships, and the fact that some of the relationships 
involved were gay was secondary.  That is very rare.  It's like Kevin Smith 
realizes that gay people are people apart from their sexual orientation.  I 
also applaud the fact that bisexuality was recognized and dealt 
with.  Bisexuality is almost never dealt with in movies (even porn films).

More than anything else, I love Chasing Amy for the scene where Banky and 
Alyssa compare oral sex injuries.  I think that was the most hilarious, 
open, honest sex-related discussion I have ever seen in a film.  If it 
teaches only a handful of people to be more communicative during sex, that 
film has made the world a much better place.


"What's a nubian?"

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