The Doom Generation (1995/Lionsgate)
C Sound: C+ Extras: C- Film: C
Gay New Wave hit, one named that got discussed often was that of
writer/director Gregg Akari, in part because he was willing to go further than
just about any of the other directors when it came to raw violence and subject
matter. However, after watching The Living End (1992) about a couple of
gay males in their 20s going on a road trip rampage furious that they are both
HIV-positive, I was not very impressed.
Only the subject matter really got it any attention and Akari continued
to make more films. The Doom Generation followed three years later.
ways, it is the same film and you know you are in trouble (and being fibbed to)
that the opening credits dub “a heterosexual film by” the director. Rose McGowan plays a party gal with something
to hide, dating a younger man (James Duval, the “rabbit guy” from Donnie Darko) both enjoying music,
drinking, dancing, food and sex. They
even get involved with an older guy (Johnathon Schaech) whose sexuality
challenges the boyfriends, but he is more interested in acting nuts than having
sex, at first.
the party gal has a very checkered past that has left so many sour, that
several would really like to literally kill her. It does not help that her crazy, toxic,
dysfunctional behavior keeps landing them in stupid situations only their new
buddy barely gets them out of each time… for a while.
the uncut version of the film with plenty of near-hardcore sex (his choices are
interesting) and bold violence, but despite fine performances by the leads and
cameos by the likes of Parker Posey, Perry Farrell and Margaret Cho, the film
is ultimately a self-impressed mess with some very problematic plot points,
ridiculous moments of silly violence followed by very graphic violence and an
eventual search for some kind of gayness in heterosexual men that it cannot
work its way to conclude.
the characters are heterosexual in some way, is this to say the title refers to
straight slackers in the 1990s? If so,
it does not begin to try to explore or ask questions on how that works. Though better than The Living End (inaccurately dubbed a gay Thelma & Louise,
since Akari is light-years away from Ridley Scott) and this had the potential
for greatness if he could back up his sensationalism, The Doom Generation sadly implodes just when it dares to show and
take on some themes and ideas serious non-XXX cinema barely deals with.
ultimate contrivance is when Neo-Nazi skinheads show up. They taunt them like all of her other
enemies, but become the ones to catch up with them. Unless someone edited and flipped the film
wrong, the Swastikas are pointing the wrong way and by the end, it seems like
key footage is still missing from the film.
The result is that Akari thinks lingering in the world of sex, danger,
crazy behavior and violence is sufficient to make a good film. Once again, he was wrong. Too bad, because there is some talent there
behind the camera; if only he could get it under control and say things that
only more than he understands.
X 1 image has good composition if you do a 16 X 9/1.78 X 1 zoom in with a
widescreen TV, but Akari is at least good at block-style framing. Unfortunately, detail and depth are an issue,
while color is barely consistent. The
original sound was in the infamous analog Ultra Stereo format, which is even
more distorted than old analog Dolby A-type, but the Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
here tries to offer surrounds and it is not too good. This is Lionsgate’s recycling of the old
Trimark DVD. For HD, Akari will need to
redo the sound as well. There is very
brief text on the three actors and four trailers (including one for this film)
as the only extras.
- Nicholas Sheffo