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The Trip (2002)

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When 19-year-old gay-rights activist Tommy and 24-year-old Alan first meet in 1973, they find themselves on the opposite sides of the political coin. Despite their many differences, they ... See full summary »

Director:

Miles Swain

Writer:

Miles Swain
3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Larry Sullivan ... Alan Oakley
Steve Braun ... Tommy Ballenger
Ray Baker ... Peter Baxter
James Handy ... Hal
Faith Salie ... Ignored Woman
Dennis Bailey ... Larry Jenkins
Alexis Arquette ... Michael
Sirena Irwin ... Beverly
Zoe 'Joshua Tree' Logan Zoe 'Joshua Tree' Logan ... 1973 Jogger
Jill St. John ... Mary Oakley
Art Hindle ... Ted Oakley
Christina Hempstead ... TV Reporter (as Christina Cameron Mitchell)
Julie Brown ... OutLoud Receptionist
David Mixner David Mixner ... Himself
Alfred Dennis ... George Baxter
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Storyline

When 19-year-old gay-rights activist Tommy and 24-year-old Alan first meet in 1973, they find themselves on the opposite sides of the political coin. Despite their many differences, they form a loving long-term relationship. In 1977, during Anita Bryant's crusade, an anti-gay book Alan wrote years before gets published without his consent. The book destroys Tommy's credibility as a well-known activist, resulting in Tommy and Alan's break-up. Seven years later, Alan is given a second chance, a reunion with Tommy and the opportunity to set things right. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The things we do for love and things we should have done, all come together on The Trip.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content, language and some drug use | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 May 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Viagem See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$13,774, 11 May 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$110,677, 8 June 2003
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Falcon Lair Estate served as the setting for much of the film. This historic site once was home to Rudolph Valentino, Doris Duke, Gloria Swanson. See more »

Goofs

The plant that Tommy gives to Alan on their first 'date' is a species that only blooms once. When Alan goes to find Tommy in Mexico several years later the plant is still blooming See more »

Quotes

Michael: He opened his mouth, and Judy Garland's purse fell out.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in 2005 Glitter Awards (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Bang a Gong (Get It On)
Written by Marc Bolan
Published by Tro-Essex Music International
Performed by T. Rex
Courtesy of Muscadet Productions, Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Two for the road ...
31 May 2006 | by majikstlSee all my reviews

We have seen this before; it is known as "a very special episode," or at least it is when it pops up on TV sitcoms. It is when the comedy suddenly gets serious or the comedy disappears completely so that a sermon and platitude can be served up. It happens unfortunately in even the best of sitcoms; actors who obviously are intelligent, talented and charismatic, comfortably playing characters who are interesting and ingratiating, suddenly have to pander to some misbegotten need to "get real" and educate the viewer. The jokey attitude and contrived situations that somehow are acceptable in a comedy, become transparent when applied to the attempts at dramatic honesty. Even a bad sitcom can be funny, but there is nothing worse than a bad "serious" sitcom.

At first it seems as though THE TRIP can slip by solely on the charms of its two protagonists. One is Alan Oakley, a pleasant, nerdy, somewhat goofy, wannabe writer, who claims to have a purely journalistic interest in exploring "the homosexual lifestyle," since he also claims to be both straight and a Republican. He crosses paths with Tommy Ballenger, an idealistic, no-nonsense gay activist who wants to explore more than just Alan's lifestyle. The story begins in 1973 when everyone is on shaky ground when it comes to gay protocol. Thus, whether he knows it or not, Alan is something of a tease in the way he pursues Tommy's friendship, and a lustful Tommy is left uncertain if he is being the prey or the predator in this vague game of cat and mouse.

Despite an amateur sitcom-like script by writer/director Miles Swain, the story draws you in, thanks largely to the chemistry between Larry Sullivan as Alan and Steve Braun as Tommy. Their mating ritual is sweetly awkward and it amuses, even as it is apparent that their coy flirtations are far from spontaneous. THE TRIP seems to be charting a course along the familiar road of a typical opposites-attract movie romance, albeit from a gay perspective, but Swain seems as uncertain about his intentions as Alan does about his homosexuality.

So the film breaks down into three episodes and the story jumps ahead in time and makes desperate attempts at being serious, first in 1977 during the Anita Bryant years and then again in 1984 during the early outbreaks of AIDS. The clumsy attempts at being a romantic comedy ("It's my parents! Quick hide in the closet!") fall by the wayside as THE TRIP makes even clumsier attempts at political statements. Telling their story against the panorama of the gay rights movement is a great idea, but like those "very special episodes," THE TRIP unsuccessfully tries to shift from funny to poignant, but hasn't built up the necessary supply of good will to justify the demands on the audience.

As THE TRIP goes from sitcom to soap opera to unbelievable melodrama, Alan and Tommy find themselves at the mercy of convoluted plot twists that just don't make a lot of sense. The film can't pull off trying to have it both ways, being seriously sentimental and outrageously funny; as the road gets bumpier, Swain's sometimes desperate attempts at humor just aren't enough to absorb the shocks.

Good traveling companions certainly can help. Most are broad clichés (Jill St. John as Alan's boozy mom, Sirena Irwin as the kooky fag hag, Alexis Arquette as, once again, a swishy party boy, etc.), but Sullivan and Braun sidestep the stereotypes and play nicely realized characters. They both have a flair for comedy and even overcome the heavy-handed drama well enough to make you care. Sullivan in particular gives an endearing performance as a man who isn't quite prepared to be swept up by love or social revolution. He more than anything else makes THE TRIP worth taking.


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