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Having seen virtually every gay-themed film that has ever
been made and having received A+ grades in all the film
courses that I took in college, I would like to weigh in
the excellent unique first effort that is "The Trip" written
directed by very talented newcomer Miles Swain. You already
the basic plotline, timeline and substance of The Trip if you
read IMDB's information.
My overarching impression of this film is that it feels real and from the
heart as it shows us the relationship between two very
gay men as they age through the '70s and '80s, living their
both together and apart amidst the ongoing struggle for equal
for gay persons. They say opposites attract and that is very
here for lead characters Larry and Alan who clearly grow to
each other very much. The focus of this film is on the
persons who are Alan and Larry, not just their sex life, as in
many gay-themed films. Although AIDS unfortunately affects
lives, it does not affect their enduring love, and the
has rightly said that "This is not an AIDS film". It is a
moving, comedy/drama/historical record with universal themes of trusting
power of a faithful love, the importance of honesty and courage, and being
true to yourself in the face of a world seemingly
always against you. The film is now available on DVD with
extras from TLA Video and is very reasonably
priced. It is a *must have* for any quality collection of gay-themed
The only reason that I rate this film a ten is because the rating scale on IMDB doesn't reach 227. The Trip isn't just a film - it's an extraordinary, a true gem about everything that matters in life - people, relationships, pride in one's self, matters of the heart and soul. The film shows what can be achieved when millions aren't poured into special effects and high-priced superficial "talent". I saw The Trip on the last day of the Philadelphia Gay and Lesbian Film Festival 2002. The timing was truly fitting, because it was a fantastic grand finale to a festival which included many other fine films. The Trip, however, was by far, the best of the festival and, in my opinion, walked away with the award for Best of Everything in all Categories. The film follows the relationship between two men starting from 1973 continuing into the 80's, giving an opportunity for many political and social commentaries having to do with the times, including Anita Bryant and Ronald Reagan, and gay rights. There was also much opportunity to fill the film with with many truly hysterical fashions and one-liners inspired by those times. These qualities make The Trip a wonderfully balanced film with both genuinely funny moments along with many warm, heart-teasing scenes too, particularly because the characters are so constantly involving, as is the superbly written storyline. The cast is outstanding, to say the very least. Larry Sullivan and Steve Braun are excellent, both simply amazing as the lead characters, Alan and Tommy. Steve Braun is so charming as Tommy, and Larry Sullivan easily steals everyone's hearts - including mine - as Alan - he's truly wonderful. To portray a Republican with as much heart and vulnerability as Alan displays is no small accomplishment, and Larry Sullivan does this with commanding skill. Sirena Irwin and Alexis Arquette are terrific in supporting roles, but it is Jill St. John who steals every scene she enters as Alan's mother, reminding us that she should be seen More, More, More! It's rare that a director displays such talent and skill in a film while, at the same time and in equal parts, shows such joy and love for his craft. Only a truly talented director could accomplish this, making his hard work appear so effortless, resulting in the most fun an audience has had in years. Please see The Trip if you have the opportunity - don't let it pass you by. And to any distributors that may read this - please take notice of this movie. Please help this truly wonderful film to be seen by everyone as it should be.
"The Trip" is one of the best romances I've ever seen. After a seemingly endless barrage of horrible gay films, I was actually taken aback by how good this film turned out to be. The story features well written, witty, and humorous dialog that moves the plot line believably through the years that the story encompasses. The performances are uniformly good, but Larry Sullivan is a real stand out as Alan Oakley. His performance lends credibility to the character he is portraying as he grows through landmarks of history (gay historical landmarks in particular). After purchasing this film on DVD, I did an Internet search and was disappointed that this gifted actor has not done more films. Wake up Hollywood! Sullivan is pleasing to look at, talented, and has a certain magnetism that draws the viewer into the story. The enormity of his appeal is hard to describe, but I have no doubt that the right vehicle would make him into a major star. Other stand outs in the film are Steve Braun (who reminds me a lot of a young Brad Pitt) who does an excellent job as Alan's gay activist lover, and Sirena Irwin as Beverly (a woman just slightly ahead of her time). Veteran actors Ray Baker and Jill St. John give substantial supporting performances, and Julie Brown gives a memorable quirky cameo performance as an 80's Madonna attired receptionist. Alexis Arquette plays "Michael" a slightly stereotypical funny slut (a year working as a bartender in a gay bar taught me that there are many people who are this "over the top" in real life). Overall, I recommend this film not as an excellent "gay" film, but as an excellent film in general.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have just seen the DVD of The Trip and am, frankly, aghast at all the positive reviews this movie has had. I can't deny that it has its moments, but it is, overall, awful. First, let me say it is not the fault of all the crew. The acting is not bad at all; both leads do the best that they can with cardboard-paper roles, and indeed, they actually make the movie 'watchable'. The fact that they managed to make stereotypical, ridiculous characters lovable (and they are) is quite amazing. Indeed, the fact that they could cope with such a lousy work from the hair department (one of the leads spends the first 20 minutes of the film with the worst wig I've ever seen on film) and still be believable is worth of praise. The support actors are a little over the top at times, but bearable. But the movie, overall, collapses despite these efforts. The director had no idea if he wanted a comedy or a tragedy, so he basically settled for a comedy-tragedy, which is not the same as a tragicomedy. The tone is all over the place; at one second you are witnessing gags, the next you're witnessing a serious tour de force through gay politics with documentary footage, and then you're in the midst of unexplained tragedy, with bits and pieces of romantic comedy here and there (the only parts of the movie that work). Most of the plot is outright ABSURD... the plot is driven by the fact that a guy in a four year relationship cannot manage to apologise, or even have a conversation, with his lover, for an honest mistake. It feels completely forced, ridiculous and out of character (the guy basically spends the rest of the movie apologising for everything else... that's pretty much his drive). The sudden infatuation and near-obsession of the "evil character" is just as absurd and unexplained. So is the deux ex-machina intervention of an ex girlfriend with whom the character didn't have much contact overall... basically, if the writer needed things moving in a certain direction, he would just do it with the first solution that came to mind. Finally, the death that seals the story just comes pretty much out of nowhere, tonally speaking... the writer wanted melodrama so he had to kill someone (who besides coughing a bit didn't really seem at near-death sickness, may I say). As a gay man myself, I am all for good gay stories getting out there. And one can stand a few flaws here and there in a first feature. But when the characters are being driven like puppets just to get some idea or image across, the whole thing just falls to pieces like a house of cards. And that's what happens here. So if you like sappy stories, watch it anyway (it has its sweet moments that account for the time lost). But if you're looking for cinema, let this one pass.
This movie presents the zeitgeist of gay history post-Hippie through the early-AIDS era. It pans this period in a Forrest Gump-esque fashion: intermixing the romantic plot between the main characters with brief moments from the national plight of gays & lesbians (like the Anita Bryant crusade, Harvey Milk's assassination, losing loved ones to AIDS). As a GenX'er I found this to help personalize something which I have only read about in GLBT history classes. I'm sure it will be "the trip" down memory lane for those guys 40-something and older. Brilliantly written script, excellent acting. If you're looking for a good snuggle movie to watch with your next boy friend, partner, trick, whomever -- this is a must see.
This was the closing night movie of the Philadelphia International Gay &
Lesbian Film Festival, and it should have opened the festival (would have
been a better note to open on than Britney, Baby, One More
This is the kind of well-written, well-acted and gorgeously filmed movie that deserves all the lauds it receives. Definitely my favorite movie of the festival, as I laughed with tears in my eyes. I'll be owning this one day.
Having the director, star, and producer there for a Q&A was just icing on the cake. More power to them - and GO SEE THIS MOVIE!!!
I have been hearing great things about this film for some time. I heard it's been selling out at almost every festival it has played in so I wasn't gonna take any chances. When it came to Texas I bought a ticket the day they went on sale. I have never seen an audience respond like this before. People were laughing their heads off one minute, and crying the next. This film has something for everyone. When it comes to your town, go see it!!!!
It is unfortunate that the mass media operate as though those of us who enjoy this film do not exist. So, we instead get, excuse my French, a bunch of crap. If John Kerry can indeed change America for the better then getting this and similar films screened on a mass scale would be worth adding to the list of changes needed. "The Trip" begins and ends innocently touching your mind. It does this first by getting you to care about the characters, to like them or to loathe them, and then by the inclusion of David Mixner (ingenious) and Jill St. John (watch the extra features on the dvd for some of her FUNNIEST work!). Their appearance adds flavor and spice to a fresh young cast including the very talented Steve Braun and Larry Sullivan. I was engrossed in every moment. I believe it helped that many involved were, in some cases, re-living some of their own life moments (read: writer/director/exec. producer Miles Swain). Well made, touching, engrossing. What more could a director- ask for? It almost gives you the same feeling as "Big Eden" but without the scripted ending. Kudos, and thank you Miles.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
At first sight it's an impossible love. Alan is a Republican journalist
with ditto thoughts, Tommy is a gay rights activist. They meet when
Alan wants to know more about homosexuality, since he is writing a book
about that subject. Even though their political opinions are very
different, love flourishes. Alan's book doesn't get published. The two
are in a stable relationship that already lasts for a few years, when
the book is published after all without Alan's consent. It turns out
the book is very negative about homosexuality. The solid relationship
Some years later. Alan is living with his dominant boyfriend Peter. He is told that Tommy is seriously ill. At first Alan doesn't want to visit Tommy, but his mother and his best female friend persuade him to go. When they meet again it is obvious they are still in love with each other. To let Tommy die at his parents house they drive to Texas. But they will never make it to their destination.
The Trip covers a few years: the story starts in the seventies and ends in the eighties. To create the typical seventies atmosphere, director Miles Swain used film equipment from the seventies. The film gives a nice image of the political situation and acceptance of gays in that period. The story lines about friendship are very well written and played. Jill St. John's roll as Alan's mother is very amusing. The Trip is a serious and at the same time funny film.
I attended a screening in SF, but found myself unable to speak while the
director and two stars were standing before me. So now that I've found
voice again, here goes: While he falls short of achieving his goals, I
believe it is because he has set the bar too high for himself. It seems
wanted to do so much in this film, that it was impossible for him to say
everything that he wanted to. I am sure that making a film about gay men
can be difficult. We want the love story of "Beautiful Thing", the
of "Trick", the hunky cast of "Broken Hearts Club", and the tear-jerker
sadness of "It's My Party". Mr. Swain tries to do, be, create all of
things in one package. He came respectably close to doing
I enjoyed the film, it felt contrived in places, which may have had as much to do with the editing as it does with the fact that this is Mr. Swain's first film. Given time, his voice and vision will mature, and I can't wait to see what happens as it does.
See this film, we need more like it.
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