DOOM GENERATION, THE(director/writer/editor: Gregg Araki; cinematographer: Jim Fealy; cast: James Duval (Jordan White ), Rose McGowan (Amy Blue), Johnathon Schaech (Xavier Red), Cress Williams (Peanut), Parker Posey (Brandi), Heidi Fleiss (Herself), Margaret Cho (Clerk’s wife); Runtime: 83; UGC/Teen Angst; 1995)
“After seeing all the mayhem and watching how retarded and alienated the teens acted, the film felt as healthy as a combined diet of junk food and crystal meth (speed).”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Gregg Araki (The Living End/Totally F***ed Up) professes in the opening credits that this is a movie about heterosexuals, as opposed to his other films about queers. But that is really a dubious distinction, as the sex is mindless, violent, and bawdry, doing an injustice to both types of sex drives. Many of the visuals displayed homo-erotic actions, and the film is about as romantic as a stool sample.
This is a road movie about three Los Angeles misfits: a teenage druggie couple, the wiseacre Amy (Rose) and the dim-witted Jordan (Duval). They take a violent drifter, Xavier (Schaech), along with them for a ride into teenage hell. It is an offensive film made to parody other Hollywood teenager films, by taking digs at do-gooders, the moral majority, the right-wing,fundamentalist religions, and pop culture. But the film is so vacuous and poorly thought out, that it comes off as strictly an in-your-face stylized film, without coming up to breathe fresh air or managing to say anything worthwhile. The parody seems so cold and distant and it comes from lowlifes who have peanuts for brains, which makes their attempts at black comedy seem futile. It was difficult to be amused by a film that was so childish, its dialogue so banal, and its whole purpose tied to being shocking.
The enjoyment, for those who get their jollies from watching something that is this gross and sexually hideous, is the flaunting of morality and the depravity in the violence. Xavier explains his tattoo of Jesus on his dick by telling Amy, he put it there so women he has sex with could say I’ve got Jesus inside me. The three form a ménage à trois, experiencing experimental forms of sex.
The first heavy action scene opens inside a fast-food emporium, where Amy and Jordan are facing the Korean proprietor’s shotgun when they don’t have the $6.66 to pay their food tab. Xavier comes along, wrestles with the gunman and blasts his head off in the tussle. Besides spewing out green slime and still talking, the severed head rolls on the floor. The owner’s wife (Margaret Cho) then disembowels her children and commits suicide.
On-the-run the three are wanted by the police, but are oblivious of any sense of guilt or awareness of what they are doing. There is a running gag about 666 as the Devil’s number and about religious or do-gooder slogans in every store; one store has this slogan: Up with hope — Down with dope.
The film has a running theme that every time the trio stops at a fast-food place, someone recognizes Amy as someone who broke their heart and swear to get even with her unless she comes with them. It ends up there’s a homicide every stop they make. I guess this is supposed to mean that these three have bad karma.
After seeing all the mayhem and watching how retarded and alienated the teens acted, the film felt as healthy as a combined diet of junk food and crystal meth (speed). It failed to show the L.A. underground kids as anything but cartoon characters. In some perverse way, I would recommend this as a blind date drive-in movie for those who want to see how their dates will react to all the grossness onscreen, and see if they can score another date. For others who might be taken with offbeat teenager films but in a healthier and more comical way, stick with someone committed to making bad films about teens such as Ray Steckler. All his flicks are funnier than this one. His Wild Guitar (62) is a classic in teen schlock art.
REVIEWED ON 6/21/2000 GRADE: C-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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