Volpane In Love

Decade Archive of my personal blog from 1999 to 2009.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Movietime: Adam and Steve

Several weeks ago now Bruce came up with a title on our DVD rental I'd been told was a must see movie. The movie is Adam and Steve, written, acted and directed by Craig Chester, an actor I've seen in other independent films before, such as Swoon, I Shot Andy Warhol and Kiss Me, Guido. I remember being warned that its humor falls definitely in the John Waters camp of shocking grotesque and this movie delivers that harsh edge from the beginning, although at its center is a very real and tender, light hearted exploration into urban relationships of this post 9/11 America, complete with Gothic club kids, country singing drag queens and line dancing.

The basic story involves a budding romance between Adam, a gay man living in New York, approaching middle age, rehabilitating from crack addiction and Steve, the animal friendly psychiatrist Adam encounters at the emergency room where he takes his dog in a panic. While some of the action is over the top, their relationship develops logically as they get to know each other, accepting each other's imperfections and culminating in meeting each other's parents: Steve's conservatively mannered country folks are in a stark contrast to Adam's quirkily "accident prone" suburban family. But the relationship really hits a breaking point when Steve realizes his murky past has caught up with him in Adam, invoking from him a Munch-esque "scream" on a footbridge in Brooklyn. While they attempt to sort out their relationship, Adam's formerly obese female friend, Rhonda who struggles doing stand-up comedy telling fat jokes connects with Steve's itinerant pot-smoking roommate, Michael.

I identify with these characters, not only because they correspond to my age, but because they struggle with the same issues I've encountered in my own life: the need for recognition and love from my peers, my parents and my lovers. I spent my twenties attempting to discover who I really was, often failing because I'd suppressed my authentic self behind a veneer of contrary values my parents had taught me. No wonder I got that wrong. Still, my parent did give me an idea of what it meant to be a real person, challenged me to believe in myself and instilled a healthy notion to question everything, especially what I held most dear.

The twisted humor of this movie reminds me how differently I respond to the grotesque from my parents. The distance of a generation seems to reflect the post-war optimism that ended with the assassination of a president and the subsequently revolutionary attitudes that followed. My parents were living in Japan in the early sixties and the culture shock they experienced returning to America is something I don't think they quite have recovered from, even today. It is akin to the shock we all experienced when we woke September Eleventh and realized the world was not as predictable as we wanted to believe.

It seems odd to me to realize I no longer fear what other people think of me. Even my parents opinions effect me less than they did even five years ago and yet that gap also reflects the pain of separation from them on many levels. And I still love them with all my heart.

The struggle we all go through, attempting to connect with each other despite our differences is a spiritual struggle. For me, accepting other's quirks and inconsistencies is half the battle. Getting others to respond to our triumphs is perhaps the rest. Outside there is conflict and separation, while at the center is the peace that comes from connecting with others.


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