I saw this movie for the second time last night on cable some 3 or 4
years after my initial viewing. I enjoyed it the first time, but where
I am older now and myself am coming out of my shell more (pun intended)
as Eric did, I had a greater appreciation of it this time around.
I was five years old at the time this movie took place in 1984, and
remember some of those tunes from the wonderful and fun soundtrack, but
more because I have downloaded them from the internet in recent years.
(ssssh) The gay bar in the movie looked like so much fun, especially
during that era of glam and new wave. The scenes there strongly
resonated with me, especially when Eric first goes there after a high
school party where he is called "queer" by the guy he was eying and
appears somewhat nervous before opening the door and walking inside (I
know the feeling), and when Eric instantly made friends there (it
helped that he already knew a patron, his boss, Angie (played by the
entertaining, if crude, Lea DeLaria), from the fast food joint he
worked at with Maggie (Tina Holmes) and Rod (Andersen Gabrych). Also,
his gradual evolution into his true self, both literally and
figuratively, struck a chord as well. It is difficult to keep up
appearances and to suppress who one truly is because of how one is
socialized and expected to be. It can be, for some, life-threatening
and tragically for others, life-ending.
Also, anyone straight or gay can relate to meeting that person (for
Eric it was Rod) who knocks your socks (block?) off and who becomes
your first love, whether you consummate that mutual attraction or not.
Eric is lucky; he got to be with Rod, even if not permanently. The
three main characters were very attractive and appealing and acted
quite well for an independent feature. Stafford was good in depicting
the struggle with one's sexuality that many of us experience and the
added pressure of having to conform to what our parents, peers, and
society in general expect of us when it isn't exactly what we feel on
the inside or want to be. Gabrych was a sexy seducer with a killer
smile, and Holmes portrayed a straight girl in love with her gay best
friend (Stafford) touchingly. The scene after they consummate their
relationship shows Eric clearly disoriented and one could tell by the
expression on his face that he knew he was gay and that heterosexual
sex wasn't going to do it for him. (Another moment I can relate to.)
After all, I really wanted to be in Eric's place in his bed next to
that sultry babe.