We spend a week in the L.A. offices where the daytime TV show "The Love Judge" is written and produced. Jo, the show's large and loud producer, announces she is leaving the show in two ...
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We spend a week in the L.A. offices where the daytime TV show "The Love Judge" is written and produced. Jo, the show's large and loud producer, announces she is leaving the show in two weeks. Paula (driven and on Prozac) and Mark (gay and moody) compete for Jo's job. Mark, coming onto the first anniversary of the death from AIDS of the love of his life, is attracted to Bill, who claims to be straight. Meanwhile, Jeremy, a close friend of Mark's, is putting the moves on Bill. Leslie, Jo's overworked assistant, tells Mark she wants to be a writer (she even has a script written). How these relationships that combine work and friendship play out is the movie's subject. Written by
A fantastic movie, shockingly overlooked and unappreciated
Grief is a fantastic movie. Most of the (shockingly few) other reviewers must have had their heads elsewhere while they watched it.
It is a modest but beautifully written, directed and acted drama about the family-like team of misfit writers of a low-brow afternoon-TV divorce-court show. The excerpts from The Love Judge are always hilarious (especially the "Circus Lesbians" episode, which had me rolling on the floor), but the behind-the-scenes drama is pure character study, serious but never plodding. All the comedy is in the Love Judge segments, which are well integrated into the backstage drama as the writers wrestle with the relevant scripts.
The writers (played by Craig Chester, Alexis Arquette, Lucy Gutteridge and Carlton Wilborn) are presided over by the show's producer Jo (Jackie Beat, aka Kent Fuher, who also plays a polar-opposite thug in "Circus Lesbians") and her writer-wannabe assistant Leslie (Illeana Douglas), with a few peripheral characters. The whole cast is fantastic, especially Chester and Beat/Fuher - and it's the first time I've ever seen Arquette actually act (ie, play a character who isn't him, in this case a mostly straight guy), and he's not bad! The several sources of drama are all believable, and the resolution is satisfying without being in any way forced.
I really, truly love this movie! I'm astounded that it has been so badly overlooked and dissed in the 20 years since it was made. Shame on the reviewers - here and elsewhere - who have treated it with such contempt! Not only does it deserve to be considered a gay classic, but it's a much better movie than most that are. It's extremely well made, great fun to watch, very entertaining and very satisfying.
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