"This is also one of the most depressing films I have ever seen. The movie starts out with a newspaper article telling us that 30% of all teenage suicides are committed by gay teens. So immediately I am thinking: "Oh man, one of these kids is going to kill him/herself." (I was right.) The lives of these teenagers consist of hanging around doing nothing, hanging around doing drugs, and having sex. Some of them have jobs, but it does not look like any of them go to school. This is also a very depressing but realistic portrayal of way too many teenagers lives-both gay and straight.This movie is good because the teens have to deal with many issues that face gay teens often these days. One of the teens is gay bashed-he is not killed, just banged up pretty bad. One of the teens is kicked out of his parents' house when they find out that he is gay. A couple of the teens find out that their boyfriends are cheating on them, but the two guys deal with this pain in very different ways.The ending of the movie sucks, in my opinion, because there is very little closure--which I guess is realistic, but it is not very satisfying to the viewer. When the movie ends one of the teens is dead. One is still recovering from getting gay bashed-he is also one of the guys that found out his boyfriend was cheating on him, so he is doubly miserable. And the one, who was kicked out by his parents, is still trying to find some place to live-he is not living on the streets he is living with the friend who got gay bashed. So, basically, this movie ends, and I get the feeling that nothing is going to improve for any of the surviving teens because their lives are still going nowhere and they really do not seem to be that motivated to make their lives go somewhere more positive. The fact that this is what the characters' lives are like (going nowhere fast) probably goes a long way towards explaining why one of them ends up killing himself."
Disturbing and graceful..
C. Weldon | Nashville, TN | 02/24/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I watched this movie not knowing exactly what to expect.. I had seen all of Gregg Araki's other films, and I am one of his biggest fans.. The movie is kind of slow moving at times, and it fumbles for words a lot, but at the same time, it shows a generation in turmoil.. the characters in this movie represent the teenagers of the current generation.. this movie tells the story of a group of gay friends who deal with the worst s**t a teenager has to go through.. it covers, aids, sex, homosexuality, love, drugs, and suicide.. During a time when these kids are just learning what each of these things are, they have something new shoved in their faces.. none of them really know what life is, or what is to come, but they all fell that they have nothing to do wirth it or no part of it.. Most of the people i knew when i was that age went through at least some of those same feelings.. the overall feeling i had in the movie was disturbed.. i wasnt sure how else i felt until i watched the last credit and i felt upheld and relieved.. i saw how bad my life could have been and what i could have had to go through.. this movie is one i think all indie film fans should see if not own.. watch it and love it for yourself.."
iheartcrass | 07/24/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Independent filmmaker Gregg Araki takes an everday look at several gay and lesbian teenagers (4 gay boys and a very cute baby dyke couple ) whose friendship provide a '90s-style family unit. This flick mixes together a head spinning/heart wrenching combination of queer teen angst, homophobia, AIDS, suicide, love and hope.. I really liked the parts where the the kids were just "talking" to the camera about issues and their feelings. It was so bitterly honest I just couldnt believe it. Very unusual, and touchingly rad. BRAVO! As you may remember, everday life for any teenager means crisis, loneliness, rebellion, and the search for love. Growing up gay adds another dimension to the angst and turmoil of teen life. This flick shares a rare, honest look at teenagers. They arent made out to be Clueless or given a Hollywood "treatment" to make them more glittery and sellable. This film will shock you, make you laugh and most likely make you remember the pain and desperation of being that 'alien' boy or girl who just didnt seem to fit in with barbie and ken.."
Araki is the God of Alternative Gay Teen Cinema
iheartcrass | 06/17/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"While his first feature "The Living End" (..which was actually made after this film,) may have more of a pasionate storyline and sexual brutality, "Totally F***ed Up!" is a worthy and important film in the Greg Araki opus. Sexually gritty, visuallly raw and stylistically juvenile, Araki is the Derek Jarman of the "alternative gay teen" set. Telling the tragic and self-important story of a group of troubled (yet, oh so normal) gay and lesbian teenagers, Araki has created a document for the hndreds of thousands of homosexual teens in the world that are not the stereotypes we normally think of. These are cool, tough, confident and fragile characters who echo the swarms of gay kids across America that listen industrial and hardcore music, skateboard, have sex and are just and likely to have a broken heart as the head cheerleader in school. More importantly, this film (like those of Jarman) provide the gay cinematic movement with grit and anger and joy and hate. It is a rich work of trash cinema that speaks volumes (in teen speak, dude) about a subculture that is far more like mainstream heterosexual society than we would think. In Araki's world, a broken heart is a broken heart, no matter who's it is! A real Gem!"
The Seeds of Gregg Araki's Genius
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 11/18/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Tracing the progress of innovative filmmakers is a pleasure for movie buffs. Gregg Araki developed a unique voice in film in the early 1990s (this film dates back to 1993), a voice that maintained a sense of immediacy with his actors who he directed with his hand held camera in a manner that gave the illusion that the 'script' was extemporaneous. Careful not to assign controversial roles to inadequate talent, Araki gathered a group of young actors and pulled the very best from them. Many of these early actors still maintain presence in Araki's prolific flow of films.
As is so often the case with Araki's stories, TOTALLY F***ED UP deals with gay sensibilities in a way that displays the entire spectrum of positive and negative response to his characters. He does not preach: he simply voyeuristically reveals lifestyles as though he were a hidden personage who just happened to fall into private moments and turbulent emotions. In this film Araki divides the examination of six teenage gay kids (four boys and two girls) into 15 dialogues, each representing an aspect of what faces his characters and how they cope with being on the fringe. The 15 episodes are related because the characters remain the same and it is this unique manner of making his story that has continued to be a trait of Araki's later, more linear films.
We meet each of the six characters in an interview situation, with only the minimal amount dialogue conveying the maximum amount of information. The primary character is Andy (a superlative James Duval) whose view of life is bleak to say the least: Andy doesn't believe in love, in commitment, believes he is bisexual even though he has never stepped out of his same-sex playing out, grows to depend on his friends, falls in love with a sweet talking fellow Ian (Alan Boyce) only to discover Ian is not at all monogamous, and finally feels the pain of heartbreak and makes a decision about life that ends the film. The other characters include Michele (Susan Behshid) and Patricia (Jenee Gill) who are lesbian lovers and stable figures for the boys, desiring to have children and a wholesome life without the need for male penetration!; Steven (Gilbert Luna) and Deric (Lance May) who are coupled but come apart when Steven has an affair and Deric is gay-bashed; and Tommy (Roko Belic), the one who falls in love too easily with every one night stand he has.
The episodes deal with the characters' sexual attitudes, AIDS, life on the streets, drugs, parental alienation, loneliness, abuse, suicide, and the desperate need for extended family. With Araki's technique we come to care strongly for each of these disparate kids: by the end of the film they feel like close personal friends of ours.
The filming technique is choppy and slips out of focus and seems to idle like a malfunctioning engine at times, but in Araki's sensitive hands these aspects add to the tension of the story. Clearly Gregg Araki is a gifted artist, and his films subsequent to this successful one serve to prove his growth and increased power of heart to heart communication. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, November 05