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The Trip (gay) Review

Old 12-31-03, 03:48 PM
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The Trip (gay) Review

“The Trip”, the feature debut by writer/director Miles Swain, is one of the best gay themed films I’ve seen in the past year. Although it does have it’s shortcomings with some uneven acting and may try to tackle a bit too many plotlines, “The Trip” overall is a fun filled journey you don’t want to miss that’s both touching and heartfelt.

The story spans 11 years beginning in 1973 as Alan Oakley (Larry Sullivan), a young, straight, Republican newspaper reporter is working on a book about homosexuality called The Straight Truth. At a party of a friends, an older lawyer named Peter, Alan meets Tommy Ballenger(Steve Braun), an outspoken gay activist from Texas. Tommy is played by Steve Braun who gives an energetic performance to his role as does Larry Sullivan and both have a great chemistry between them. The two instantly hit if off and when Tommy is asked over to dinner by Alan, he thinks he’s found his true love. Much to Tommy’s surprise when he arrives he’s greeted by Alan’s girlfriend Beverly (Sireana Irwin), who although being a dizzy blonde can see the attraction between the two.

Without giving too much away Alan and Tommy do become a couple but not without some ups and downs. The film traces their friendship through the years with some nice montages of gay history interspersed throughout with the likes of Anita Bryant’s anti-gay crusade, gay activism, and the aids crisis. Also worth mentioning is the soundtrack that also reflects the times and is put to good use featuring disco, new wave and various hits from the 70’s and 80’s, like America’s “Horse With No Name” and Missing Persons “Destination Unknown”, a surprisingly nice touch. Supporting roles include a really funny Alexis Arquette, as the campy friend Michael, Jill St. John as Alan's “queer friendly” mother and a small cameo by original MTV veteran, comedian, Julie Brown. The movie’s finale brings Alan and Tommy together again ala “Thelma and Louise” and takes them on a trip together, spiritually and emotionally, hence the title. Some of the scenes are a bit campy and over-the-top, the dinner party fiasco, and some a bit outlandish, gas station stickup, but for the most part it’s a nice love story/friendship that spans a turbulent time and is a nice homage to gay history. “The Trip” is an enjoyable ride!

The DVD features a commentary with the director, deleted scenes, bloopers, and a behind the scenes featurette. The audio (stereo) and video are fine, nothing exceptional. TLA Releasing

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